When the Weyauwega Common Council meets on Aug. 22, before it will be the recommendation to change part of the route of a proposed trail in the community’s park.
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Weyauwega Public Library.
The city’s Recreation Committee voted 4-1 on Aug. 2 to not allow the proposed trail to go down the unconstructed right of way on Clark Street. Amy DeSantis, Chuck Gerlach, Judy Langner and Jack Spierings voted yes, while Bob Anibas voted no.
Instead, the trail would go from the top of hill in the park to Emerald Street and come out on South Street and then go up one block on West Street and connect to Clark Street.
“We have such a thing as wants and needs. I think a lot of us are aware that the national and state governments are somewhat dysfunctional,” Anibas said during the Aug. 2 meeting. “I think a large amount is because individual wants and special interests weigh out over the interests of all.”
He said the right of way being discussed on Clark Street is public property.
“When property is public,” he said, “you have to be thinking more about the public. This land belongs to the people.”
Gerlach told Anibas that he understands his passion but that he thinks there are other ways to make it work.
The trail segment in the park is one of three proposed throughout the community. Also proposed is a segment of trail from Third Avenue to Mill Pond Circle and a trail that connects Lincoln Street with Alfred Street, going around and behind the new senior housing unit in the city.
Last October, the city of Weyauwega’s funding request – made on the behalf of Weyauwega Trails – was among those approved for transportation-related infrastructure projects.
The city will receive $278,362 in funding to develop the three new segments of trail, which, in all, will total 7,303 feet. The overall project is estimated to cost $347,953.
Twenty percent of the cost, or $70,000, will be covered by the city.
City Administrator-Clerk Sheryl Scheuermann said that two years ago, the city approved the plan in concept. The trails have not yet been designed.
“We’re in the very early stages,” she said. “The grant was written for it to happen in 2013.”
She said the discussion about a portion of the trail in the park came up because several neighbors abutting the Clark Street portion brought up concerns.
“So, the committee brought it up to council last month, saying it wanted to do away with that portion,” Scheuermann said. “It got sent back to committee, and the committee has now reinstated that.”
Before its Aug. 2 vote, there was discussion by both members of the committee and Weyauwega Trails, and by the son of one of the property owners on Clark Street.
Rick Desens attended the meeting on behalf of his parents.
He said the proposed segment on Clark Street would alter the landscape of his parent’s property. “They’re not anti-trail. I think it would be more logical to bring the trail down South Street where there is a bathroom and a shelter,” he said. “They feel they have been good members of the community and active, and that their feelings should be considered.”
DeSantis is among the committee members that made trips to Clark Street to look at where the trail would be located.
“If you stand there (where the trail is proposed), you can openly see the Desens’ house,” she said. “I have to go with my gut. I’m not against the trail.”
Gerlach said under the recreation committee’s recommendation, one block of trail would change. If the trail is marked, people will follow it, he said.
Mary Jane Baehman was among the trail group members who attended the meeting.
“On behalf of Weyauwega Trails, I’m here to see how we can work together,” she said.
Baehman found it ironic that the group had to defend parts of the proposed trail, saying when they presented the idea a year ago, the discussion was about how it would help the community move forward in a positive manner.
She does not want the issue to be a personal one but one that takes into effect what is best for Weyauwega.
Spierings said that he, too, went to Clark Street. “It makes no sense,” he said, “to even be arguing this. Everything is on South Street. They can use the restroom there and park their car to start.”