The River Walk project has received a nod of approval from the Iola Village Board.
At its March 12 meeting, the board authorized an advertisement for bids for the proposed walkway along the South Branch of the Little Wolf River within the village limits.
The walk will be located south of Mill Street, on the river bank between North Main Street and Town Line Road.
No tax dollars are being used for construction of the River Walk. It will be paid for with grants and fundraising.
Anticipated start time is late spring or early summer.
The total cost of the project is $706,324, according to Cliff Mishler, who is coordinating it. The amount is inclusive of anticipated volunteer and in-kind donations, he noted.
The three walking bridges and 370 boardwalk support pilings will cost about $485,000.
The project has received a $353,162 matching grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, according to Mishler. So far, about $175,000 has been committed or donated to the project.
“The rest will require fundraising,” Mishler said.
He reported that the River Walk Committee has acquired the required permits from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. These permits are in place until Dec. 31, 2013.
Mishler noted that the DOT has upgraded the intersection of State Highway 161 and Town Line Road. The redesigned intersection will be wider to allow more room for turns onto the highway.
Most of the land is owned by the village, with easements obtained from the privately-owned properties.
The village board held a public hearing about the River Walk project. Following are some of the questions raised, with answers provided by Lyle Mork and Mishler.
Q: Why three bridges?
A: It is what was in the design submitted and approved by the DNR.
“We cannot redesign and still qualify for grants,” Mishler said.
Q: Where will the bridges be located?
A: The walking bridges will be placed just to the north of the Main Street bridge, by the property previously owned by Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative, and from the Pine Street boardwalk to Town Line Road.
Q: Where will the boardwalks be located?
A: There will be three segments of boardwalk: between the bridges and from the walking bridge to Town Line Road.
Mork noted that the placement of the boardwalks was determined by the location of wetlands.
Q: What type of posts will be used in the wetlands?
A: Whatever was approved by the DNR.