Two years ago, a group of people passionate about health, safety and wellness formed to build a plan for trails in the community.
Today, that same group – Weyauwega Trails – is getting ready for an even larger trail project.
The project will develop three new segments of trail – a total of 7,303 feet in all.
The group’s dream became reality on Oct. 28 when Gov. Jim Doyle announced that a total of $31.8 million in federal and state funding had been approved for transportation-related infrastructure projects.
The city of Weyauwega’s funding request – made on behalf of Weyauwega Trails – was among those that were approved.
The city will receive $278,362 in funding. The overall projects is estimated to cost $347,953.
City Administrator Sheryl Scheuermann said the city will put $70,000, which is 20 percent of the cost, toward the project. It will be funded over a period of three years. Plans call for Weyauwega Trails to fund-raise to reimburse the city for that amount.
“The dedication and support of the trail’s group was phenomenal. Without their enthusiasm, this grant would have never happened,” she said.
It was late last summer that the group learned of the opportunity, working with the city on the grant application.
Now that the funding has been awarded, work can begin on the design of the project.
Kelly Baehman is the president of Weyauwega Trails, and he said the city will bid out for an engineer for the design work in early 2011.
The engineer will then work closely with the trails group and the city on the design of the 10-foot wide, blacktopped trails.
Construction is slated to begin in 2012 and be completed in 2013.
Baehman said funding such as this is only available every three years and never has there been such a high amount of funding available for such projects.
The project in Weyauwega includes the following three segments:
• Providing a trail from Third Avenue to Mill Pond Circle.
• Linking Lincoln Street with Alfred Street, going around and behind the new senior housing unit in the city.
• Providing for paving of the trail in the park and the final stretches of additional trail to link it to the signed street trail.
Mary Jane Baehman, who is also part of Weyauwega Trails, said, “We are excited about being able to offer the trail for all different ages, abilities and for families.”
Scheuermann said the city believes the links will benefit not only the residents of the city but visitors from throughout the area by providing safe, healthy transportation routes.
“These 7,000-plus feet of trail links the entire community with the downtown, schools, churches and parks and will encourage citizens of all ages to use non-motorized means of transportation to get to work, school, shopping and play,” she wrote in the grant application.
Currently, the city has signed city streets that are designated for walking and biking.
Kelly Baehman said those streets were chosen based on safety and also on getting to certain points in the city.
Weyauwega Trails believes the new segments of trails will be yet another means of attracting people to the community.
The group appreciates the support and cooperation it received from the community and also from State Sen. Luther Olsen.
“I was so excited I wanted to shout it from the mountain top,” Mary Jane Baehman said of her reaction when she learned the city had received the funding.
Communities throughout the area continue to work on the development of trails, with the goal of there someday being trails that link from Appleton to Stevens Point.
“But, first we wanted to do something directly for the community,” Kelly Baehman said. “We have our own little project going in Weyauwega.”