Greenway to offer grants
County commission promotes walking, biking
By Robert Cloud
A new county commission plans to provide grants to local efforts to promote quiet sports.
Waupaca County Supervisor Pete Bosquez said the Greenway Commission will start taking applications by early May for grants to create walking and biking trails and entry or exit sites for canoes or kayaks.
Bosquez said the county will reimburse a nonprofit or municipality up to 25% of a project.
“They have to raise the funds and have a plan in place,” Bosquez said. “Then, once they spend the money, we will reimburse them.”
Bosquez said the goal is to spread the funding equally around the county.
Possible projects the commission is considering include a designated biking route from Waupaca to Scandinavia, a walking trail around Readfield Elementary School and the park in the town of Caledonia, and signage for walking trails in the city of New London.
Bosquez hopes more groups contact them about their plans.
“If they have projects that are in the works, we would be really interested in taking a look at their plans and being able to help out when they’re completed,” Bosquez said.
For more information about the Greenway Commission, google “Waupaca County Greenway.”
Waupaca County has provided $25,000 in seed money for the Greenway Commission.
“Once we get a few successful projects, we’ll start promoting it to the businesses and see if we can get donations from corporations and individuals,” Bosquez said.
Biking, walking plan
The Greenway Commission is a result of the 2018 Waupaca County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
The 43-page plan shared safety issues of shared roadways and how walking and biking routes can help attract tourism.
“The Waupaca County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan represents a coordinated attempt to integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians into the transportation fabric of Waupaca County and its communities,” the plan says.
“By providing a comprehensive approach to bicycle and pedestrian facility planning, the plan’s purpose is to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to enable these modes of transportation to co-exist – and co-exist on an equal footing – with other transportation modes.”
Safety is a major concern.
The study found that 45 vehicle-pedestrian crashes and 38 vehicle-bicycle crashes occurred in Waupaca County from 2005-15.
The study notes one-third of the population does not drive.
“This includes the elderly, children, people who cannot afford a vehicle and people who are unable to drive due to physical limitations,” the plan says. “Designing roadways with only vehicles in mind creates unsafe situations for people who are not able to drive and limits opportunities for social activities, employment, education, shopping and entertainment.”
The study found the environment benefits from increased walking and biking as it reduces the number of vehicles on the roadways and improves local air quality.
Indivduals also benefit from increased physical activity when they bike or walk.
“Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%,” according to the study. “It has been noted that not only are adult obesity rates on the rise, but also childhood obesity continues to be on the rise.”