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Happy trails to users

Those involved in a project to build a shelter kiosk on the Central Lakes Trail in Alexandria included (front row, left to right) Jeff Fischer, SkillsUSA board member, Sherri Randt, ATCC SkillsUSA advisor, David Malone, ATCC concrete masonry instructor, Andrew Connell, carpentry student, Marlys Bucher, Minnesota Department of Education and SkillsUSA board member, Adam Klinkner, Minnesota SkillsUSA president (post secondary), Doug Nelson, carpentry student, Jennifer Polz, Minnesota Skills USA executive di...

Those walking along the Central Lakes Trail near Big Ole Central Park may have been wondering what's up with the skinny new building that started to take shape there earlier this summer.

It's a new shelter kiosk trailhead - the first of its kind to be constructed on the 55 miles of the Central Lakes Trail.

On Tuesday, the key players in the project gathered to celebrate the near completion of the project.

The kiosk will not only provide shelter and a safe entry point onto the trail but many other conveniences as well, including bicycle racks, a free "Green Bike" check-out program, benches, a water fountain and maps showing trail segments, walking routes and services in Alexandria that trail users may want to explore. There will even be a way for trail users to load the maps on their smartphones.

Money for the $10,000 project came through a grant from Lowe's.

The project is a cooperative effort involving the city of Alexandria, the Central Lakes Trail Association, Acting Living Douglas County, the Alexandria Area Stewards and Alexandria Hotel and Hospitality.

The kiosk was designed and constructed by SkillsUSA students enrolled at Alexandria Technical and Community College as a community service project and mentorship opportunity. About 35 students worked with professionals and governmental agencies to permit, design and construct the building.

Two surveys by Active Living and the stewards identified a need for shelter and safe access to Alexandria from the trail.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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