New London Parks and Recreation Department was recently awarded the Park Section Facility Design Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association (WPRA). The award was presented to the department for its Bernegger River Trail park project.
In July of 2009, the City of New London opened its newest addition of parkland , dedicated as the Bernegger River Walk. The river walk is an extension of the Wolf River Trail system, which was proposed as far back as 1978 by a report titled the “New London Rivers Beautification and Improvement Plan”. The plan,
prepared by the City and East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, recommended the construction of a public trail system along the waters of the Wolf and Embarrass Rivers, which converge near downtown New London. Many sections of this proposed trail system were constructed in the 1990’s and early 2000’s on either side of this parcel.
The Bernegger River Walk continues that vision to connect a continuous trail along the beautiful shorelines of the Wolf and Embarrass Rivers. This property is located right in the middle of the downtown district and provides an opportunity for new development and downtown revitalization.
The River Walk phase of the project started in December of 2004 when the Wolf River Lumber Company moved all operations to different locations in the City and donated the nearly 6-acre parcel to the City. After acquiring the property, City staff proposed a plan to clean up the parcel and add the newest section of river trail along the Wolf River. The city would divide the parcel, retain a 45-foot wide section along the river for the trail, and sell the remaining amount for development.
During the construction of the project, the City started discussing what to name the new park. A great opportunity presented itself as Hillshire Farms, which was founded in New London by Fritz and Armella Bernegger in 1934, was celebrating 75 years of business. It was decided to name the new park after the family who built the business that is now the largest employer in the New London community. The Park Design Award Program was established to recognize outstanding park and recreation construction projects in the State of Wisconsin by WPRA members. The mission of WPRA is to increase the effectiveness of professionals in parks, recreation, therapeutic recreation and related leisure services through a variety of forums which encourage and enhance professional education and networking among the leisure industry, and to advocate and promote the benefits of parks and leisure services to the general public.
Jeff Bodoh, Acting Public Works Director/City Engineer: Project Administration
Kent Hager, City Administrator: Project Administration
Chad Hoerth, Director of Park and Rec: Project Administration
New London Park Crew: General Labor/Landscaping
New London Street Crew: General Labor/Trail Grading/Landscaping
New London Utilities: Pedestrian Light Installation
Quality Concrete: Concrete Work
Trench It Environmental: Silt Fence Installation
MCC: Rip Rap Stone
Ranger Services: Tree Consultant
Waupaca County Highway Department: Crushed Old Concrete
LJ Reas Environmental Consulting Corp: Consultation on Native Vegetation
Wolf River Lumber Company: Donation of Land
Rawhide: Brush/Debris Removal & Tree Plantings
New London Asphalt: Final Grading and Trail Paving
River Valley Testing: Compaction Test on Asphalt Pavement
Faulks Bros. Construction: River Wall Removal & Riverbank Rehab
NL Public School’s Environmental Science Class: Planted Riverbank Vegetation
Belson Outdoor Inc: Benches
Hillshire Farms: Donation of Dedication Plaque and Stone
New London Fish & Game Club: Donation of Fishing Pier
Wisconsin DNR: Advisement & Stewardship Grant Funding
Bernegger Family: Ribbon Cutting