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Ottertail trail wins $142,000 from Espeland Foundation

A recreational trail connecting Ottertail's east and west sides moved $142,737 closer to reality recently, with a donation from the Espeland Family Foundation.

In addition, it appears that the bicycle and walking path can proceed on the county road right-of-way--without impacting Native American burial grounds.

The estimated $237,193 project would create an L-shaped, blacktopped trail from downtown Ottertail to the commercial district along Otter Tail Lake on the west side of town. Target date for completion of the trail is 2012.

With the $142,000 from the Art and Clarice Espeland Fund, the project moves closer to the construction stage. It is one of the largest grants ever awarded by the Espeland Foundation, which is administered by the family that founded First National Bank, of Henning, Ottertail and Battle Lake.

The donation comes in three forms: $66,000 is estimated for construction of the trail; $40,000 is designated for future upkeep and maintenance; and $36,000 will be applied for a city skidsteer with a blower and sweeper--equipment that will help maintain the trail.

The Espeland Foundation also awarded an $8,000 grant to the city for updating the city's fire-emergency radio communications system.

The checks from the Espeland Foundation were presented in July to Ottertail Mayor Ole Mounts, by Clarice Espeland and her daughter, Cindy Fossey.