Sept. 30 event celebrates Loop and "Roll on Luverne" bike program

Phase 2 of the Luverne Loop hiking and biking path is now complete, and city leaders and sponsors are hosting a ribbon-cutting event on Sept. 30.

The day will celebrate the completion of the path from Dodge Street near the school to Highway 75 at Gabrielson Road.

But the event will also showcase “Roll On Luverne,” the new bike borrowing system recently put into place by the Luverne Chamber office and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Twelve bicycles — eight adult-size and four youth bikes — are available to the public to use for free. They’re stored in a secure shed on the GrandStay Hotel and Suites property, and borrowers can access them at the hotel’s front desk.

Bikes are available for 24 hours at a time; users leave a credit card or driver’s license at the desk until the bike is returned.

There is no charge to use the bikes.

A grant through the Minnesota State Health Improvement Program (SHIP) covered the purchase bikes and 12 local businesses, organizations and individuals agreed to donate $150 per year to cover maintenance costs.

The program has an agreement with Ken Petersen of Ken’s Bike Shop in Luverne to keep the bikes in operating condition.

The celebration on Sunday, Sept. 30, begins at 1 p.m. with a “Roll On Luverne” ribbon-cutting at the GrandStay Hotel and Suites.

Then at 1:30 p.m. the Luverne Loop Phase 2 ribbon-cutting will be at Highway 75 and Gabrielson Drive, followed by a community bike ride and walk from 1:45 to 4 p.m.

Community members and families are encouraged to bring their bikes to ride the Luverne Loop, starting at the Highway 75 and Gabrielson corner and heading west around the west side of town.

Phase 2 of the Loop connects with the already completed Phase 1 at Dodge Street near school. Phase 1 takes path users along the northwest edge of town and across Highway 75 toward the Veterans Home pond.

From there, the path connects with sidewalks across the Veterans Addition to Blue Mound Avenue where the Blue Mound Trail continues north to the Blue Mounds State Park.

For those who want to follow Highway 75 back to the Gabrielson Loop connection, there is a newly painted bike lane on Highway 75.

Chamber Director Jane Wildung Lanphere shares information about the Loop and Roll On Luverne in her September newsletter and in a Star Herald guest editorial this week.

“With the LOOP completed and connected to the Blue Mounds Trail, our community will have a wonderful 13-plus-mile biking and walking trail,” she writes.

“A trail that size is eligible to be designated as a significant trail in statewide publications.”

Organizers of the Sept. 30 celebration have arranged for free golf cart rides for those who aren’t physically able to participate and who want to experience the trail.

The event concludes with free root beer floats at Exchange State Bank on South Highway 75 near the Phase 2 Loop.

Holly Sammons, director of Luverne’s Economic Development Authority, has played a key role in securing funding for the Loop and keeping its development on schedule.

She told the EDA board at their Monday meeting that she’s happy to see the Loop completed this far.

“It’s been fun getting Phase 2 complete, and we’ve been working to get safety and trail etiquette information to users,” she said, adding that an updated, detailed colored map of the trail is also now available.

Information about the Sept. 30 event and about Roll On Luverne is available at the Chamber office, 283-4061.

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