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MINNEAPOLIS - More than 200 people took their bikes down the new Dinkytown Greenway on Sunday, the first official day of the new bike path.

"This is a key link connecting people from the city of St. Paul and Falcon Heights to downtown Minneapolis," said Peter Wagenius, who works in Mayor R.T. Rybak's office in Minneapolis. "And people won't even have to cross street. They'll be on a dedicated greenway the whole way."

The new stretch took years of negotiations between the city and nearby railroad companies.

Two-thirds of the Dinkytown Greenway's $2.3 million cost was covered through federal funding.

"It's not the longest or the most beautiful, but it's one of most important connections," said Rybak. "Sometimes the best things take a while."

Next Spring, the final piece of the project will be completed near the 35W Bridge.