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District seeks private funds for underpass

During the Board of Education's February meeting, board members voted to support the temporary allocation of fund balance dollars to contribute to the construction of a County F walking underpass between River Crest Elementary and YMCA Camp St. Croix.

Funding of the underpass is being equally split between the district and the YMCA. The temporary use of fund balance dollars now means there will be no additional tax dollars collected for the underpass, costs are kept low, and inconvenience to our community is lessened.

The decision made by the board to allocate district funds does not change their commitment to seeking private funds for the full $125,000 district portion of the underpass construction cost. The board's decision does allow the district to move forward with spring construction, which has been determined to be the lowest cost and most effective time for building the underpass. In the spring, County F will be widened to five lanes to allow safe access to River Crest Elementary while maintaining through traffic. Delaying construction of the underpass until private funds were raised would require tearing up County F a second time, raising construction costs and adding another time of inconvenience to all our community residents who travel County F daily.

With topographical maps and an underpass design recently completed, the district is now able to provide potential funders with an accurate cost estimate and a construction plan, paving the way to start soliciting funds. Board members and district administration have developed a list of potential local financial supporters and have researched grant sources that may contribute to this project. The question has been raised about whether the district will be able to secure funds once construction is under way. Depending on the funding source, some grant dollars are only available at the time construction is completed. The district remains confident that private funds are available, and district funds will only be used temporarily.

The underpass is an investment that maximizes the unique experiences that can be offered to our students and the community by safely connecting River Crest Elementary with YMCA Camp St. Croix. Linking these two community assets together will increase learning and recreation opportunities.

The potential benefits to students and the community as a result of this partnership include:

  • Greater variety of eco-systems and environmental habitats provided to Hudson students by daily access to the Camp St. Croix site.
  • River Crest students experiencing environmental education in after-school care located at Camp St. Croix.
  • District students participating in afternoon environmental summer programming at Camp St. Croix.
  • District staff sharing expertise and experience with Camp St. Croix's naturalist staff to expand environmental sustainability education.
  • Community events that focus on environmental sustainability, health and fitness.

    The district is proud to be leading the way to sustain and preserve our resources with the construction of the first "green" school. Building on the strengths of each, the partnership between River Crest Elementary and Camp St. Croix will be an asset to the Hudson community and the St. Croix Valley area.

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