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Kinni access granted; upgrades come to riverside near swinging gate

<i>Debbie Griffin photos</i> Big limestone blocks recently installed at the Kinnickinnic River's edge near the swinging gate access sit in five newly created spots and act as seating.

A $54,000 gift left to the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust by the late Stephen Budd resulted in access improvements near the river at the spot widely known as swinging gate.

It sits just outside the city limits along Hwy. 65, has a gravel parking area and is marked by a DNR fishery sign.

Inspired by his kids' love of the river, Budd left the money for a project of their choosing involving the river.

KRLT Director Nelson French said Budd's son Derrick lives in Beldenville and suggested the idea for how to use the money. He's been closely involved with the access-improvement project.

People may have noticed the construction activity in May. Design of the project began about a year and a half ago.

The area's been graded and reseeded with grass. A slightly winding crushed-granite pathway leads the way for about a half mile to five stations of big limestone blocks beside the river.

French says the limestone blocks serve as seating and erosion control.

An old barbed wire fence used to force people to use the swinging gate. While the gate and its posts remain intact, most of the old fence has been removed. A monument stone being prepared at Melgard now will go just opposite the historic swinging gate.

French said the collaboration to make the project happen was a "wonderful partnership" among the Budd family, DNR, county, Boulder Images, Brauer & Associates, Earthworks, Land and Water Conservation Department, the Final Grade and others.

Weather permitting, those involved with the project will gather at the swinging gate Saturday, July 24, to dedicate the improvements and celebrate.

Read more on this story in the July 1 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

Click this link to watch a video of the construction. Access