To the editor:

Businesses along Old West Main Street have been working together to help rebrand our side of downtown as the West End District. We have many exciting things in the works. Along with these things, our group has discussed the proposed pedestrian bridge and how it will impact our community.

We support this project. When completed will be a huge footprint for our evolving business district.

Connecting the harbor river walking trail and the Cannon River bike trail to Old West Main Street will be a huge asset. Include the summer boaters to the pedestrian and bicycle traffic and it adds up to a huge pipeline of business.

Keep in mind that in the next few years, West End District businesses will be going through tough times while our street is torn up for new water and sewer lines. Being able to offer the bridge as an alternative access could be the difference between making it or breaking it for some of us during the street upgrade process.

Once all of this is done, Old West Main Street will have a whole new look and the bridge will be one of the project's biggest highlights.

Looking ahead to a bigger picture ... the city's 2040 plan includes expanding Bay Point Park into the barren lot that sits between us and the river. The bridge will be one of the first steps toward making the riverfront a showcase area for Red Wing. We understand it is a significant investment, but our side of downtown is ripe for revitalization. We need this project to help grow our businesses and our district.

Some people in town are concerned about the money and are making false claims about the actual cost to the taxpayer. A fair portion of the project is being covered by a federal grant. The city is trying to secure a second grant that would help offset costs even more.

We hope the city will move forward. We ask for the community support. We are confident that when it is all over these projects will make West End District an area that we can all be proud of.

Alan Nugent, Glen Witham, Jodi Jones, Dan Simonson, Kip & Cathy Earney, Rick & Kelly Anderson, Alison Youngs, ​Rita Dassner​, Brenda Stelter, Valerie Brigham, Kelly Bystrom --  West End District business owners

Megan Tsui --  Downtown Main Street director