The city and community organizations will organize the historic celebration of the reopening of the lift bridgeb | Government

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After nearly 15 months of delay, the city will host a big opening party from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, for the completion of the cycle and pedestrian loop 4.7.

The St. Croix Loop Trail connects Minnesota and Wisconsin by crossing a route between the historic Lift Bridge and the St. Croix Crossing. The Passage de Sainte-Croix opened on August 2, 2017 for automobile traffic and replaced the need for through traffic to pass through downtown Stillwater. The opening celebration will begin with a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. on August 14 at Lowell Park. Dignitaries from Minnesota and Wisconsin will be in attendance.

There was a significant amount of traffic downtown when the historic bridge served as one of the major arteries to Wisconsin and there was pressure to replace the bridge due to increased commercial traffic downtown, said Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski.

“There was so much pain getting to where we are today,” Kozlowksi said.

When the bridge was still open to motor vehicle traffic, the lifts caused traffic slowdowns, creating problems for emergency personnel, and it could be a nightmare if the bridge stopped working and got stuck. .

“I feel like I forgot about this pain, the construction of the new bridge and the construction of the city center,” Kozwolski said. “It was years of construction downtown.”

The lift bridge closed on August 2, 2017 for automobile traffic and reopened for bicycle, pedestrian and boat traffic on June 1, 2020. The grand opening celebration of the lift bridge and loop trail was originally planned Friday May 15, 2020, and Saturday May 16, 2020. The original celebration has been canceled due to COVID restrictions.

The mayor noted that it would have been nice to have a big opening celebration to coincide with the actual opening, but said the completion of the loop trail should still be recognized.

“We’ve all seen how great a convenience it is, the traffic (bike and pedestrian) on the loop trail has increased dramatically since it opened,” Kozlowski said. “It was a great convenience. It deserves a celebration marking the end of the massive multi-million dollar construction. “

When the bridge opened in the summer of 1931, fireworks were lit to mark the occasion, the Gazette reported in 2017.

“When the bridge was permanently closed to motor traffic on August 2, 2017, fireworks again punctuated the event, launched from several points in the city,” said the Gazette.

When the city celebrates the opening of the bridge on August 14, fireworks will once again be lit in honor of the bridge from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Even with the dry conditions, Stillwater City Councilor Mike Pohlena, who also chairs the Elevators and Loops Celebration Committee, said the tradition will continue.

“Fireworks are going to happen,” said Pohlena. “I haven’t heard anything negative, I think we’re in good shape.”

Pohelna said he was working with people in Wisconsin to organize the celebration.

“What’s fun, too, is that it brings both sides of the river together,” Pohlena said.

Pohlena noted that the trail has increased tourism, if you go downtown at any time and see that there are residents and tourists crossing the trail – even with snow and single-digit temperatures in winter.

“We are a healthy community,” he said. “You take people out to meet their neighbors and that brings people to Stillwater. He met a couple that was coming from Mabel, near the Iowa border, to check out the trail.”

In addition to the ribbon cutting, the opening celebration will include a street dance and mascot dance and

There are two aspects of the originally planned celebration that won’t happen: a spaghetti dinner on the bridge and people setting a world record by holding hands on the entire loop trail.

Since COVID is not entirely over, Pohlena was concerned about having a large group of people on the bridge at the same time.

“I’m a little nervous to have 700 people gathered on the bridge,” he said.

It didn’t completely give up the 4.7-mile grip, either.

“… Maybe when we get over this COVID case, we can set a world record,” Pohlena said.

Even though not all aspects of the originally planned celebration will take place – and this takes place more than a year past the planned date – Pohlena is still looking forward to the festivities.

“I am delighted to see this finally come to fruition,” said Pohlena. “We had a group of people working on this. It will be a fun day to commemorate the opening of the ski lift trail.

Stillwater Sunrise Rotary will turn the Lift and Loop grand opening into a full weekend by showcasing the trail with six bike lanes on Sunday, August 15, the day after the Lift and Loop celebration, said Mark Fisher, Image President public of Rotary.

Rotary expects about 500 runners to participate. Fisher noted that a unique aspect of their event is that all runners will have access to a smartphone app.

When a rider signs up, they will have access to an app called RidewithGPS. The app uses interactive mapping software which will verbally and visually provide direction. It can also upload photos of a cyclist’s route. The app was purchased in event mode with Discover Stillwater.

Rotary typically hosts Brewers and Bourbon Bazaar on the Andiamo boat in the spring of each year, it has been moved to the fall. This year, Rotary will still have a bazaar this fall, but since Rotary has delayed this event, they have instead decided to host the Bridge the Valley Bike Ride and tie in with the bridge opening celebration.

All routes start and end in downtown Stillwater. The idea is to keep cyclists around after they’ve finished their journey to explore the downtown shops.

One of the routes is almost entirely of the loop trail. The other longer routes incorporate sections of the trail.

“We really hope people stay downtown and try to give them a boost with what happened last year,” Fisher said.

A number of downtown businesses have prepared handbags for cyclists, Fisher added.

The first five routes are on fully paved surfaces and are either 5, 10, 25, 40, 60 mile loops, but the 77 mile loop is the organization’s gravel challenge. Fisher said the 77-mile route is Grandpa’s challenge – and a Fisher won’t attempt it himself

I’m not as dedicated as a runner, ”he said.

Although he didn’t have an exact number, at least a few people signed up for the 77-mile “Granddaddy” race.

Rotary will have people on all trails to help with the water and fix flat tires if necessary.

“We’ve seen what people sign up for, it’s an age gap. This is what we were really hoping for, ”said Fisher. “People are really waiting to do something. We really thought it was the right time to do it and tie it into the celebration of the ski lifts.


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