Development ideas considered
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville Parks and Recreation Committee received the results of a recently conducted survey regarding what to do with Seven Maples Nature Area.
The 17 acres that comprise Seven Maples were donated to the city of Clintonville by Lynne Simpson in 2016.
The survey was conducted online by East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission between June and August.
A total 148 individuals responded to the survey, with 71 percent of the respondents from the city of Clintonville. The remaining respondents were from Bear Creek, Manawa, Marion and Shawano.
The age group that comprised the largest pool of respondents was ages 31-45, which comprised 44 percent of the respondents. Females comprised 47 percent of the respondents.
Regarding the top amenities that people would like to see at Seven Maples Nature Area, trails topped the list as 65 percent of respondents said trails were important to them.
The next five most important amenities included: pavilion with restrooms (47 percent), picnic area (45 percent), fishing dock (42 percent), kayak and canoe launches (41 percent) and dog park area (32 percent).
When asked what types of trails are important, mowed trails within the nature area or cleared woods natural trails received the highest responses.
The survey also asked respondents how likely they would be to use the nature area once it is developed, of which 84 percent said they would be extremely or somewhat likely to utilize the property.
Also, 67 percent said if there was a heated shelter on the property that they would rent it.
When it comes to funding the development of Seven Maples Nature Area, 50 percent of the respondents said the city should seek grants.
Fundraising and donations were mentioned by 18 percent of respondents.
Increasing the city’s Parks and Recreation budget was suggested by 16 percent of respondents.
According to the survey, 57 percent of respondents supported a small tax increase to pay for developing the area.
“I think we’re getting a lot more positive feedback on this than the Rec Center,” McAuly said. “For that they wanted everything done but nobody wanted to pay for it.”
Along with the survey results, ECWRPC created sample renderings of what Seven Maples Nature Area could look like under three different themes: golf theme, fun and games theme, and natural theme.
“I kind of lean towards more of the natural theme,” McAuly said.
Committee member Carol Metzger said citizens she has spoken with about Seven Maples want to leave it in its original state and not expand on it too much.
“I don’t think a lot should be done with it,” Metzger said, “based on people I’ve talked to and from my own personal opinion.”
Committee member Chuck Manske agreed. He said before the survey he had a lot of ideas for the area, but people who talked to told him told him the area should be left in its natural state and the area should be developed slowly and purposely.
Steve Kettenhoven, Parks and Recreation Committee chairman, agreed that the area should be left as natural as possible.
“I do think that we have a number of great parks in this city that are capable of handling recreational portions for our community,” Kettenhoven said. “I would love to see this thing stay as natural can be.”
He said trails in Seven Maples Nature Area could be enhanced to make it easier for those with walkers and wheelchairs to gain access.
“I’m not trying to rain on anybody’s parade here,” he said. “I just think this is an area we need to keep free of the common parks setting in my opinion.”
The committee will discuss Seven Maples Nature Area at future meetings.
“I’m 100 percent for the natural,” McAuly said. “It’s easier to maintain and you already have a natural area, but we have to put in what the people want too. So we have to look at that as well.”
In the meantime, the city will continue to maintain the exterior trails already in Seven Maples Nature Area.