PARDEEVILLE – If the Columbia County Silent Sports Trail Committee ever needs seed money, Pardeeville will chip in.

The Village Board Tuesday unanimously authorized a $200 donation for a possible future grant application, to help establish a network of bicycle trails throughout Columbia County.

Village President Bob Becker has been active on the Silent Sports Trail Committee, which has been meeting for about two years to establish a strategy to have Columbia County capture more of the $1.5 billion in annual revenue that Becker says comes to Wisconsin from bicycling.

Toward that end, Becker said, each of Columbia County’s municipalities — 21 towns, 10 villages and four cities — are being asked to contribute $200

for writing a grant, if and when the committee decides to do so.

Three or four municipalities already have said yes to the request, Becker said. (The Wyocena Village Board, which is holding its 2013 budget hearing Monday, is leaning against doing so, village officials said at a recent meeting.)

Pardeeville Village Trustee Barry Pufahl said the village can get the money, if necessary, from the “culture and recreation” portion of its 2013 budget.

Becker said the trail network effort could eventually entail acquiring right-of-way to create bike-safe trails alongside roads that are not conducive to bicycling now, such as the curving and narrow Highway 113 near Lodi.

John Pickle, former chairman of the town of Lodi, is active on the Silent Sports Trail Committee, and spoke about it at the recent Columbia County budget hearing, in conjunction with an effort, later rejected, to set aside county money for a grant application for improvements of the park near the Merrimac Ferry landing.

Becker said the committee has been advised that, before it can consider applying for a grant for bike trails, it needs a “master plan.” The committee will meet next on Dec. 19.

ljerde@

capitalnewspapers.com

745-3587

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