The city of Manawa may be obligated to pay for a trail along County Highway B.
The city had an agreement with the Waupaca County Highway Department, according to Dean Steingraber.
He said the Manawa Common Council had agreed to pay up to $30,000 for the trail to be included with the 2014 reconstruction of County B.
Total cost is only about $9,100, the highway commissioner announced at the Common Council’s Oct. 21 meeting. He said the lower cost was due to the land being zoned as farm use.
Steingraber said the city owes this money to the county even if a trail is not included with the County B reconstruction project scheduled for next year.
The cost includes about $5,700 for engineering fees and about $4,500 for the purchase of additional land for the 24-foot right-of-way. This is the amount the county has already invested in the proposed trail.
“We wouldn’t have done that if there hadn’t been an agreement (with the city of Manawa),” Steingraber said. “So we feel the city should pay for it.”
Mayor John Smith had understood that the land for the right-of-way was to be donated. He said this was the first he had heard about the county having to purchase the additional land needed for a trail.
“If we pay this money, will the trail be put in?” asked Alderperson Mary Eck.
According to Steingraber, the $9,100 only covers the design and the land purchase. He also indicated the trail right-of-way will continue to be owned by Waupaca County.
Smith questioned why the design fees were so high.
“It’s not like it’s winding through someone’s woods,” he said.
The design cost included survey work, setting of pins, etc., according to Steingraber.
“We understood the city would put the trail in and the trail committee would put the cover on it,” said Mary Craig of the Little Wolf River Trail Organization.
Steingraber indicated that the WCHD needs to partner with municipalities, not organizations/groups “on something this substantial.”
Smith noted that the council recently agreed to support the trail, but not financially.
He said they will need to check the original agreement the city had with the county.
“If we’re paying for the trail land, we might as well have a trail or we would be doing a complete disservice to the community,” Smith said.
The council agreed to revisit the issue at its November meeting.