Wausau River Edge Parkway Plans Depend on DNR Grant

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

The City of Wausau is hopeful the Department of Natural Resources will grant it $320,000 to extend its River Edge Parkway trail.

The grant would fund a half-mile long path along the west side of the Wisconsin River near Marathon Electric.

The plan is another piece of the parkway puzzle.

The city already has half of the $640,000 project secured in its Capital Improvement Fund.

But the River Edge Commission is depending on the DNR to grant them the rest.

The commission's chairman believes the extended trail will serve as an additional source of transportation for the city's residents.

"On the aesthetic and natural resources side the Wisconsin river's always been our premier natural asset. We like to think of it as a ribbon that ties us together, rather than a dividing line," said Phil Valitchka.

Marathon Electric granted the city an easement on their property where the newest segment of trail will run.

"I think we're benefitting the city that we're able to participate in this portion of this path...it's a kickstart to get this side of the path done," said Sheryl Lister, an administrative assistant for the company.

But not all businesses are giving the city, and the public, use of their land.

In order to extend the parkway further, all the way to Bridge Street, they must make a deal with at least two more corporations...at least one of which may be unwilling.

It's unclear when the DNR will decide whether to grant the funds, but they are taking public comment.

They can be mailed to the DNR at P.O. Box 4001, Eau Claire, WI 54702; emailed to lavane.hessler@wisconsin.gov; or by phone at 715-839-3751.

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