MnDOT seeks input on Victory Memorial Hwy 22 plantings at County Fair
Original plantings date back to 1945 in memory of WWII soldiers
MANKATO, Minn. – With the upcoming Highway 22 reconstruction from Mapleton to south of Mankato in 2017-2018, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is reaching out to Blue Earth County residents for input on landscaping the historical Victory Drive because several trees planted after 1945 in honor of area soldiers that served in World War II will be removed during the construction.
MnDOT plans to gather input at a variety of forums and the first will be at the Blue Earth County Fair in the Reichel Building, July 28-30 at Garden City.
“Many of the old trees have died and some that remain are a hazard for vehicles departing the roadway,” explained Project Manager Peter Harff. “Instead of just replanting more trees, we decided it is a good time to rethink how best to remember our veterans through the landscaping along Victory Drive.”
“Revisiting this unique effort in Blue Earth County’s history is a great opportunity to remind people why the special plantings exist so that as we drive it we remember and appreciate the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedoms,” stated Greg Ous, Transportation District Engineer.
Originally sponsored by the Mankato Garden Club with the help of the Mapleton American Legion and other community groups, the first trees consisting of American Elms, Black Hills Spruce, Green Ash and Poplars were planted when the highway was reconstructed in 1951. Maple River students have also been instrumental in replanting in past years.
MnDOT is looking to develop a landscaping plan that would not create problems for farmers, power lines and driving conditions while standing out as a memorial. With the roundabout planned at Highway 22 and County Road 90, the design could also be tied to the memorial highway.
Anyone interested in this project is encouraged to visit with staff at the Blue Earth County Fair or to contact Assistant Project Manager Robert Jones at 304-6198. More information can be found at the project website at www.mndot.gov/d7/projects/hwy22mapleton/.
# # #