Written by STEVE OSTERMANN
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 19:24
Board accepts matching funds that could help build trail along Milwaukee River
The Village of Grafton may use a state grant to help build a riverwalk through Veterans Memorial Park.
The Village Board on Monday accepted a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program grant of $244,455, which is expected to cover half the cost of a walking trail along the west bank of the Milwaukee River.
Project plans call for building a 10-foot-wide walk that would run 1,200 feet from Highway 60 to the north end of the park and installing a canoe/kayak launch and a wayside that would give recreational water users access to the park restrooms, pavilion and water fountain.
Kiosks would also be placed along the trail to provide information about the river and local history.
The trail would have a concrete surface and sitting wall similar in style to the riverwalk south of Highway 60, officials said.
Although the board voted 6-1 to accept the matching grant, Village President Jim Brunnquell cautioned that the village has not made a commitment to do the project. That decision would only be made if funding is included in the village budget, he said.
Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said the village’s share of the project cost, estimated at $489,000, is expected to be covered with a combination of park and recreational facility impact fees, money from the capital projects fund and private donations.
Village Parks and Recreation Director John Safstrom said a concept plan for the project received a favorable response from the Department of Natural Resources, which administers the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.
“It was a good project in their eyes, and they wanted to be part of it,” Safstrom told the board.
The project cost is only an estimate and could vary based on bids, Safstrom added.
Trustee Jim Grant was less enthusiastic about the plan, questioning the need to build a sidewalk through the park that would provide few amenities. He cast the only dissenting board vote.
However, Brunnquell said the grant gives the village an option. “Accepting it doesn’t commit us to doing the project,” he added.
In fall 2013, the village applied for a Coastal Management Program grant for the project but did not receive funding due to the large number of applications, Hofland said.