Midtown Greenway trail extension would pay for itself, advocates say

21August 2021

Costs to extend the Midtown Greenway trail over the river and through St. Paul would “essentially pay for itself,” according to a study released Saturday by the Midtown Greenway Coalition.

“Our new study shows the extension would essentially pay for itself, in the form of economic development and new tax revenue for the public coffers,” said Soren Jensen, executive director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, made up of neighborhoods, organizations and individuals who “love the Midtown Greenway.”

Soren says that some people claim extending the Greenway “would be too expensive,” but that the study released Saturday shows the Midway Greenway has generated close to $2 billion dollars in economic development.

“Our new study estimates that the new trails that would be part of the Greenway expansion would generate close to $3 billion in economic development. Plus more than $30 million in annual tax revenue for the public coffers,” Soren said.

While the Midtown Greenway cost about $34 million to build, Soren says the report shows that the return to the city has paid for it more than ten times over.

“It has generated close to $2 billion in economic development, in the form of new apartments and condos built next to it. And it generates tens of millions of dollars in annual property tax revenue for the public coffers. Developers want to build next to the Greenway, and people want to live next to it,” he said, noting that the study shows the new extension would be just as popular as the Midtown Greenway.

“Extending the Greenway over the river and through Saint Paul would create the best inter-city bike highway in the nation. It would instantly catapult St. Paul to the top of the best biking cities in the U.S.,” he said, adding that it would help fight climate change.

The current 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway railway corridor often hosts more than 5,000 cyclists a day through South Minneapolis, making it the most heavily used bikeway in the state.

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