Sen. Matt Schmit: Red Wing’s goal to transform into Minnesota’s premiere river town

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It was an honor to welcome the Senate Bonding Committee into Red Wing Tuesday morning. My hometown has been in the process of reimagining our river front for the past few years, and reconnecting our citizens to the water. We started the morning by taking a river boat tour on the Mississippi, and we were able to show committee members the many different aspects that make up the Red Wing River Town Renaissance project.

Red Wing’s vision is different from many other bonding projects in that it isn’t just one project, but rather it’s the funding of an entire economic development idea that will help drive tourism and make Red Wing our state’s premier river town. One of the first parts of this vision is building a new transient dock to accommodate larger riverboats, even bigger than the one we rode on today, with the hope that they will visit Red Wing more often.

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The vision also includes reconfiguring portions of Levee Road to minimize high water flooding, as well as the construction of the Mississippi River Walk Trail. The trail would hug the river alongside the train tracks and will bring hikers and bicyclists to the 340-foot Barn Bluff, a nationally recognized historic site. This trail extension will complete the 2.5 mile trail connecting Red Wing’s major parks and historic downtown to a regional trail system that includes hundreds of miles of beautiful trails.

A final, but very important part of this city-wide project is the bonding request for the Sheldon Theater. The Sheldon is a beautiful old theater that acts as a regional draw for attracting visitors and their spending to the city.

Because of the many components that make up this project there are two separate bonding requests. The city of Red Wing is requesting $4.48 million in bonding to help finish the dock construction, Levee Road configuration and several other small river-access related projects. The total project cost for all of these sections is $16.526 million.

The city is also requesting $8.6 million in bonding to complete the Mississippi River Walk trail.

Red Wing has already made a lot of progress on this project and I share the enthusiasm in creating more recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.

Senator Matt Schmit