A Story of Attempting To Lengthen A Leisure Path In Southeastern Wisconsin | WUWM 89.7 FM

Advocates for an area community of leisure trails are selling a significant step ahead for the deliberate extension of a path in Racine County. Nevertheless, the precise opening of the section is probably going years away.

Here is the story of what it could possibly take so as to add to the path system in Southeastern Wisconsin:

The White River State Path at the moment goes for 19 miles on an deserted railroad hall between Elkhorn in Walworth County and Dover in western Racine County. A deliberate eleven-mile extension can be to the east – between Union Grove and Sturtevant – permitting simpler entry for folks residing in or visiting Racine.

Chuck Quirmbach

The orange line that tilts up when wanting from left to proper represents the deliberate White River State Path extension.

For now, the place it crosses 59th Drive – a number of miles east of Union Grove – the path hall is a slim stretch of overgrown vegetation, bushes, and two dust lanes on which an emergency car might journey after the outdated rails and wood ties have been eliminated. However, even that might be a bumpy trip.

The thought to amass the extra 11 miles from the Canadian Pacific railroad got here from the Union Grove Rails to Trails group. Co-leader Shelly Petrick stated the trouble began about six years in the past as a part of a venture for an area management class.

Petrick advised a latest assembly in Union Grove that gathering endorsements meant a whole lot of outreach.

“We arrange informational tables at the highschool monitor meets and out of doors Piggly Wiggly,” Petrick stated. “We attended board conferences for the native municipalities, and we gained letters of assist from each municipality the path will move by.”


Chuck Quirmbach

State Meeting Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) expresses his “love” for strolling one other leisure path, as he discusses the deliberate White River path extension.

Finally, the trouble caught the eye of the native state consultant, who’s well-known throughout Wisconsin as a conservative: Meeting Speaker Robin Vos. Vos disclosed that he and his spouse stroll one other Racine County path a number of instances every month.

“And, I will be sincere with you, I do not know how the path acquired there, I do not know who the folks have been that made it occur, or how they put the cash collectively,” Vos stated. “However I do know we love strolling on that path.”

Vos stated he was prepared to assist the usage of about one million {dollars} in state Knowles-Nelson Stewardship funds to amass the White River State Path extension. Racine County got here up with a half-million {dollars}, and the Wisconsin Division of Pure Sources has negotiated a tentative take care of Canadian Pacific.

However that solely will get us a part of the best way by the path story.

Assuming the deal stays collectively, Racine County can be accountable for creating the extension. County Public Works Director Julie Anderson stated one query can be: Who will get to make use of the hall apart from conventional bicyclists and hikers?

“In fact, everybody desires a stake on this, proper?” Anderson stated. “So, we have the snowmobiles which have an curiosity. We have got the UTV’s [utility terrain vehicles] that need an curiosity in it. We have got fat-tire bikes which can be used year-round. So, we’re attempting to determine how we plow some areas of our present trails within the winter due to fat-tire bikes.”

Anderson stated one other difficulty is deciding the path’s floor.

”Do I do know what the surfaces are going to be proper now? I do not know,” Anderson stated. “Do I envision elements of it is going to be paved? Most likely. Do I envision elements of it is going to be in gravel for some time? Most likely!”

The floor will probably be one of many elements in figuring out the event price. Estimates fluctuate, however one determine places the value tag at $80,000 per mile.


Chuck Quirmbach

Kevin Muhs, of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Fee

It is potential the federal authorities might assist. Kevin Muhs of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Fee stated his company lately teamed up with native governments to use for a nationwide program known as RAISE, which supplies cash throughout all transportation modes. Muhs stated he hopes for funds to develop a number of native path segments, together with the White River extension.

“So, I am not going to face up right here and say, ‘We have got an excellent probability, we’re gonna get it!’ However, what we have discovered by expertise with this program previously is that, in different elements of the area, is normally after two or 3 times, you do get it,” Muhs stated.

Muhs additionally stated the infrastructure invoice now being debated in Congress might develop one other potential pool of funds.


Chuck Quirmbach

A map of the deliberate Route of the Badger leisure path community.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy stated the White River Extension can be an essential section for the Route of the Badger – a deliberate 700-mile regional path community in Southeastern Wisconsin that also has a number of hundred miles earlier than completion.

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