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Pierre walking trail to get upgrades, fish in pond

PIERRE -- A bicycling and walking trail that snakes through lowlands and climbs to one of the city’s highest points is in line for more innovations and improvements, several officials told the state Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission on Wednesday.

A shelter will be added near the restored antique bridge that crosses Capitol Creek as part of what’s called the Fourth Street Trail on Pierre’s northeast side.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Department plans to stock fish in Mickelson Pond there and develop fishing access points around the water for children and families to use.

A gravel parking area will be added for six to 10 vehicles near the shelter and the pond, and a vault toilet will be added at the parking area.

State government will provide $75,000 and the city’s share will be $25,000, according to Tom Farnsworth. He is the city’s parks and recreation director.

“That is the partnership we’re working on,” Farnsworth said. “A wonderful project.”

He said the goal is to have work done next spring.

As a test, two lights have been installed using solar power because electricity isn’t available. They cost about $1,400 each.

Farnsworth said a decision would be made whether to place more of the lights at the shelter and the parking lot and possibly other areas along the 1.4-mile trail.

AARP and the Pierre Indian Learning Center are partnering on an information kiosk that will be added in the general area of the bridge and shelter, he said.

The state Health Department meanwhile is providing a $14,000 federal community transformation grant for further enhancements along the trail, such as basic exercise benches and similar equipment for adults and children.

The equipment would be placed at the children’s themed play pods.

Mike Mueller from the state Bureau of Administration said there is a plan to connect the Hilger’s Gulch walking trail, which was built and is maintained by state government in former low land, with the city’s Fourth Street Trail.

A city street atop a rise separates the 8-shaped gulch trail and the Fourth Street Trail. There is a shortcut worn through the grass on the gulch side at the cut-across point.

To place concrete on the existing gravel maintenance road up the rise would cost about $40,000, Mueller said. The money would come from a state or federal source, he said.

White pedestrian lanes might be striped across Governors Drive to connect several existing curb cuts for the two trails, he said.