Group plans for east-west bike path

Improved Flandreau western entrance

After working with a program called Healthy Hometown, volunteers who have been involved hope to extend the bike and pedestrian path east of Flandreau all the way west to the edge of town where they hope for an enhanced green space to welcome people.
While plans are conceptual with nothing finalized, the group wants to solicit additional ideas from the community and share the vision so far. They will hold a town hall-style meeting 6 p.m. Jan. 15 in the basement at Mad Mary’s.
“We’re in the planning stage, and we’re just in the exploration stage right now, figuring out all the desires and wants of people,” said Kelley Ramsdell, who has volunteered on the committee. “The goal of the project is to connect, to form your connections with bike paths and crosswalks.
We’re still in the planning stages of it so we have to get lots of blessings along the way.”
In addition to extending the biking and walking path through town, the group has talked to community leaders who also are interested in having a path going south on Veterans Street to connect with the Royal River Casino area and the extensive sidewalk system on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe land. There are no sidewalks on Veterans to walk between that area and Pipestone Avenue.
The committee, with the focus of connecting the community so people can move more, also has talked with school administration about safer paths to school and crosswalks where they are needed for children to safely cross streets.
On the west entrance to Flandreau, the group would like to improve the appearance of the area, starting at Industrial Street. “We just want to spruce up the entrance of Flandreau and have kind of a green or buffer zone on the south side of existing land.”
Those involved and others who have been brought into the discussion are excited, said Angie Brown, community health manager for Wellmark, which provides free community support for the Healthy Hometown planning process.
“This is kind of a vision,” she said. “This early part has just been getting the early stakeholders on board. I think everybody thinks it’s great.”
She said the team of volunteers will continue to work on the plans. “This move more committee, I would say, kind of took off this fall,” she said. “There’ll be phases. You can’t do it all at once.”
Earlier this year, a couple dozen people walked in the downtown area, along Pipestone and in the area of the school to see what improvements would enhance residents’ mobility.
In addition to moving more, Healthy Hometown participants have focused on eating well, which has included more healthier options in retail stores, and feeling better.