Trail extension would link communities
That’s the eventual goal for the trail, said Ryan Garcia, Whitewater city planner.
Although most of the city of Whitewater is in Walworth County, the north edge of the city lies in Jefferson County. Rock County is but a few miles west of the city. And a trail extension south of the city to Willis Ray Road in Whitewater Township could establish a network within the three counties.
“But that takes time and money,” Garcia said.
The trail will be a positive addition for the community, economy and attract tourists, Garcia said.
But the route is contingent on the city securing easements in the township, said Matt Amundson, parks and recreation director for the city.
That could be a challenge.
Town Chairman Ron Fero said township landowners are declining to allow a trail through their properties.
“Without the town’s cooperation, it can’t be done,” Fero said.
The trail’s extension was planned during construction of the Highway 12 bypass, which opened Aug. 4, 2005. The state provided the highway underpass with the understanding that the city would extend the trail there by the end of this year, Garcia said.
The state also might provide a $150,000 transportation enhancement grant, which is earmarked for the extension.
To receive the federal money, the city must file a formal application with the state Department of Transportation, said City Manager Kevin Brunner in his weekly newsletter.
The grant will pay for 80 percent of the project. The city will be responsible for funding 20 percent, or $37,500, to comply with the 80 percent federal, 20 percent local funding grant requirements, Brunner said.
The plan is for the extension to pick up where the existing 3,500 feet of asphalt trail leads from the Tripp Lake beach house along the lake on the city’s southeast side. The lake trail was constructed by Teronomy Builders during the development of Waters Edge South subdivision south of the lake.
Before being annexed by the city, the 76-acre subdivision was township farmland.
Without remaining township landowner cooperation, the exact route of the extension to Willis Ray Road and the Highway 12 underpass still is undetermined.
The trail will have to weave about one and one-half miles from the city to the township road, Amundson said.
If the pieces come together, Amundson said, Willis Ray Road could serve as a connector to the Kettle Moraine Trail.