Trail connecting parks proposed
New London Parks and Rec seeks grants for project
By Scott Bellile
New London Parks and Recreation wants a paved trail from downtown New London to Hatten Park.
Parks Director Ginger Sowle has researched grant opportunities and asked the city’s engineer, McMahon Associates, to develop drawings.
A concrete trail already exists for most of the way, beginning south of the Shawano Street bridge at River Trail Park. It continues parallel to County Trunk X for a half mile west, passing behind The Waters Supper Club and Johnny’s Little Shop of Bait before ending at Riverside Park.
Sowle on March 7 told the Parks and Recreation Committee the city could resurface that existing trail and construct a short addition across the road from Riverside Park along the south side of County X.
This segment could begin by the city garage and head west, veering left around the corner. The undeveloped grass there could be filled in with woodchips or pea gravel and continue south, linking to the gravel road inside Hatten Park near the shooting range.
People already walk the grass path often, complaining when it is not mowed, Sowle said.
She said grant opportunities include the Waupaca County Greenway Commission – the county hopes to extend the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail into the city someday and may see this project as a start – and the Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program, which awards money to pedestrian projects.
“A student could walk from wherever they live downtown on that trail system through Hatten Park to either Parkview School or the high school without crossing many [streets],” Sowle said.
Student committee member Rachel Schuler recalled passing through that area with the high school tennis team at practice, calling it “an accident waiting to happen.”
“I just think it’s a great idea for the safe walks to school,” she said. “There’s so many kids trying to get through there.”
Committee Chair Bob Besaw said he has heard from multiple people who believe the trail ends at Riverside Park with no easy way to walk into Hatten Park. More marked trail could clear up confusion.