WAUPUN — A plan to have a hiking trail going from Fond du Lac County Park through Waupun to the Horicon Marsh Wild Goose Trail has taken a giant step forward.
Waupun is receiving two grants for the trail which will start at Meadowland Heights Park and wind along the north side of the Rock River to Edgewood Drive.
The section of the trail going along the Rock River will be a boardwalk, with a viewing platform going to the edge of the river.
“Things are coming together for Waupun,” said Dick Flynn, director of public works. “Walk/biking trails are essential to the city’s outdoor recreation plan. This project will greatly increase the quality of life for Waupun residents.”
In a survey sent to all households in Waupun 59 percent of respondents stated that walk/biking paths were their number one need.
Also, in June of 2010 the common council and city staff held an annual strategic planning session and walk/bike trails were named one of the city’s 10 top goals.
“This is wonderful news,” said city administrator Kyle Clark. “It enables us to develop and enhance the assets of our community. I would like to thank our director of public works Dick Flynn and all those that collaborated as a team in securing these grants.”
Mayor Jodi Steger was also happy. “Waupun’s first leg of the trail started out with the beautiful TeBeest trail. This new grant allows us to continue eastward with the boardwalk in the Meadowland Heights Park area up to Edgewood Drive. This area is like a nature preserve with many different types of birds and animals that will no doubt be enjoyed by those using the trail.”
Steve Guth, president of the Waupun Area Recreation Project, said, “WARP is in full support of this walk/bike path which helps us link the existing Fond du Lac County Park trail to the Wild Goose State Trail and we will be working with the city to help raise funds for this project.
The estimated cost of the project is $310,000. One grant is the State Stewardship Grant (Urban Rivers) for $110,400 and the other is Federal Recreational Trails Act (RTA) for $45,000.
“The difference between grants and cost is $154,600 which will be paid out of the TID #3 and #5,” said Clark. “There will be no tax increase; no general fund tax money will be used.”
“People love trails and they increase the quality of life for residents of the community they are in,” said Chris Halbur of the DNR. Halbur was essential in receiving the grants, said Flynn.
“Communities with a high quality of life are those where people want to live and businesses want to locate; and real estate values reflect this,” said Halbur. “Trail systems definitely have a positive economic impact on the communities they are in.”
Flynn said a thank you needs to go to Edgewood Community Church and Steve Buchholz for allowing the boardwalk to go through the church property.
“Without the easement this project would have not happened,” Flynn said.