Group of 11 people standing on an outdoor plaza

Friends help secure major funding for trail extension

Overall, this was a good year for parks and trails, but especially so for the Mill Towns Trail, which saw an incredible $8.19 million investment from the 2023 bonding bill. The Friends of Mill Towns State Trail were instrumental in making it happen.

Over the years, the Friends have spread the word and built a strong community of trail supporters. They have gotten local legislators, businesses, the local college, and other community groups, such as the Rotary Club on board.

This new funding will enable another 6.1 miles of trail to be built through Northfield (see map p.9) as is expected to be finished by 2026. “Besides increasing the safety for children biking to the schools and parks along the planned route, the new trail will provide much variety—Spring Creek, Arboretum prairie and woods, the Waterford Iron Bridge,” said Peggy Prowe, the founder of the Friends Group.

The Friends have been a driving force in the creation and development of this trail, starting as a city trail in the 1990s and then as a state trail in 2000. This latest victory offers a morale boost as the Friends continue to grow the support for building the remaining segments mile by mile.