By Charlie Swanson, Hastings Star Gazette – June 6, 2022
U.S. Representative (D-MN 2nd District) Angie Craig submitted funding requests for Dakota County to receive $4,995,000 to construct the Veterans Memorial Gateway and $325,000 for the electronic crimes unit of the county sheriff’s office.
Craig submitted her requests for Community Project Funding for the Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations process, through which Members of Congress have the ability to request funding for up to 15 specific projects in their districts that would serve the public good.
The Veterans Memorial Greenway (formerly Rich Valley Greenway) is a proposed greenway corridor connecting Lebanon Hills Regional Park and the Mississippi River in central Dakota County. The corridor will stretch 5-miles east and west within the Eagan and Inver Grove Heights communities.
The greenway will provide an appealing trail for all to enjoy and a space for patriotic community events. It will commemorate and honor the services of all veterans from Dakota County and throughout Minnesota through the construction of 5-7 memorials designed by veterans.
“I’m proud to announce my submission for Dakota County to receive federal support for this important project,” said Representative Craig. “Residents of Dakota County have a long and proud history of service in the American Armed Forces — and this project will serve to honor their sacrifices in defense of this great nation.”
The Veterans Memorial Greenway is set to be Minnesota’s longest greenway dedicated to veterans. Another benefit of the Veterans Memorial Greenway will be its impact on pedestrian safety.
It will be a safe and universally accessible space year-round. The current route will eliminate crossing conflicts with 54,000 trucks and other vehicles daily on County Roads 71 and 73, and State Highways 3 and 52. The greenway will also have accessibility features suited for the county’s more than 6,600 disabled veterans and other users with disabilities.
The funding for the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office would be used to help fuel a county-wide outreach program meant to crack down on electronic crimes. This funding would allow for the sheriff’s office to hire a forensic technician who would investigate crimes such as cyberstalking, elder scams and cyberbullying.
The project would also bolster the discovery and prosecution of these types of crimes, which are typically underreported, and provide ample community education and law enforcement training as preemptive measures.
“Our community is confronting a whole new set of threats online — from cyberstalking, elder scams, cyberbullying and more — and we need the tools to protect Minnesotans from these new and growing dangers,” said Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie. “The funding that Representative Angie Craig has requested for the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office would help us take a critical step forward in addressing and preventing the harmful side effects of being online — and we’re grateful for her assistance in securing this additional support.”