Bike trails and bike riding remain on the minds of several decorahnews.com readers. Several have sent in e-mails in response to earlier e-mails about the subjects:
Karla e-mails: "This is a response to Nori's response to Ellen. Perhaps a bit of perspective is necessary….Those "commodity vehicles" to which you refer are the BACKBONE of Winneshiek County's economy. Without the income their owners produce you would not have bike trails or enjoy the quality of life that allows you time and energy to bike. Maybe you should consider moving to a place where "commodity vehicles" are not needed. Good luck with that. Please thank a Winneshiek County farmer.
"I have to say that I like your website for letting people express their opinions on a variety of issues. I agree we need to focus on the positive but we also need to address the negative. People are upset with the the current status quo. I applaud those that have written in and expressed their opinions both positive and especially the negative. Just focusing on the positive does nothing to solve problems. Take a look at the national media. Most of the stories they cover are negative. Most people don't have the luxury of walking around with their heads in the clouds and pretending everything is perfect. This is real life not Sesame Street. I say let them complain and the louder the better.
Jim e-mails: "I have been reading the editorial comments about the bike trail and the priorities that the city and county have placed upon this project I thought I'd take a moment to comment:
There's little question that the infrastructure of our city, county, state, and nation could use a some additional funding. However, no one wants their taxes raised, instead we clamor for "tax cuts, tax cuts!" You can't have both so, "Where are the priorities?"
We all expect public safety to be a priority yet the comments about the necessity of a bridge over highway 9 to complete the bike trail is receiving scrutiny. As someone who uses the trail, I need to inform your readers that there are hundreds of school children who use this trail. In addition, joggers and walkers nearly equal the bicyclists. How do we expect them to safely cross Highway 9? Will they use the streets and highways? Of course they will....its their right. But what is the safety of a child worth? Or for that matter, any resident or guest of Decorah? Is their safety worth less than the additional cost of a bridge that crosses that busy highway? You can't insure public safety without an investment in infrastructure so, "Where are the priorities?"
We all clamor for jobs, jobs, jobs. Well, there are a lot of ways to create jobs. One of the cleanest and fastest growing industries is tourism. The Decorah bike trail is going to bring thousands of people to our fair city each year. If you think I exaggerate, I'd encourage you to take the 40 mile trip north to the little town of Lanesboro, Minnesota. That was a ghost town 25 years ago that has seen such a renaissance that it is nearly unrecognizable today. It didn't happen because a new industry built a plant there It happened because a bike trail came through that lovely community in the Root River Valley. That coupled with recreational opportunities on the river has created jobs, jobs, jobs. This is going to happen in Decorah as well. While these tourists may not pay any additional road taxes to use these amenities they will eat out a lot, stay in the our campgrounds and motels, and shop in our local stores. The taxes generated will be significant and will occur without harming our local environment or natural beauty. You have to invest in local economies. Without it, economies falter. Job creation is a huge buzzword these days but it takes capital investment. So, "Where are the priorities?"
I for one am willing to pay additional gas taxes to build bridges and roads. I'm also willing to support the completion of the Trout Run Trail including the construction of a bridge that safely carries bicyclists, joggers, and walkers across Highway 9. I support the efforts by local officials to build a safe, clean industry through tourism to help our local economy flourish. This is where my priorities lie."