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Open Forum: When opportunity knocks ...

Last Monday the city council voted to approve efforts to fund and build a bike trail through South Brainerd. This trail will be wonderful for a part of the city with few sidewalks and lots of kids. It will connect another part of the city with our downtown area, and it will open up recreational access to one of our city1s most valuable assets, the Mississippi River. It is a win, win, win, especially since it will be funded completely by state Legacy Funds, and no city tax dollars. I am so happy that we have a city planner and several forward thinking people on the council and staff seeking these kinds of excellent opportunities to better our city.

However, two council members voted against this project. A well thought out project that is 100 percent benefit and no cost to our city, and Mary Koep and Bob Olson voted against it. I hold respect for both of these people on a personal level, but they have extremely antiquated visions for our city. Neither gave justification for their 'no' vote, however, Mrs. Koep gave insight into her reasoning when she mentioned that she wished she didn’t have a sidewalk in front of her own house. I probably do not need to explain that sidewalks and trails provide safe passage through the city out of traffic for kids, pedestrians, tourists and cyclists, and greatly enhance the quality of life and economic activity in a city like ours. A civic minded person does not wish away a community asset just because they personally do not use it.

Sarah Hayden