Ephraim Gets Recommendations for Lighting and Path on North End

The 167 lodging units, attractions, galleries and restaurants located on the north end of Ephraim could be connected by a new bicycle and pedestrian path. The village’s ad hoc Capital Projects Committee has made recommendations for lighting and an off-road path for a three-quarter-mile stretch on Highway 42 from Townline Road to Orchard Road (roughly from the Waterbury Inn to McKeefry & Yeomans). 

The committee was charged with soliciting and evaluating several options from the engineering firm AECOM, which provided estimates for adding an eight-foot shoulder to the roadway, or a 10-foot, off-road path separated from the roadway by a three-foot grass buffer. 

The committee recommended that the village pursue the off-road path. Estimates for creating a path from Anderson Lane to Orchard Road came in at $470,000, and from Orchard Road to Townline Road at $300,000. 

The latter stretch would require removing 45 trees. Committee member Matt Meachem said that many of those trees are either standing dead or dying ash and cottonwood trees that will have to be removed eventually, regardless of creating the path. 

“We could have a program where we go and replace them,” he said. 

The proposal from AECOM identifies where the proposed path would go, and which trees and structures – such as fences and signs – would need to be moved. Those maps are available on the village website in the July 13 Capital Projects Committee meeting packet.

One option investigated was simply widening the shoulder to create a path on one side of Highway 42. The committee found that option less desirable and more costly, with an estimated price tag of $756,115. The added cost comes because the shoulder would need to support vehicle traffic, whereas an off-road path could be built to a far lesser standard. Village Administrator Brent Bristol also worried about the safety of a widened shoulder.

“If you go with a wide shoulder, would people just use it as a passing lane or parking?” he said.

AECOM also provided estimates for three lighting options. Though it is the most costly option, the committee recommended that the village install the same 13.2-foot-tall concrete poles installed through the center of the village in 2018. That comes with an estimated price tag of $756,115.23.

“You have to go with the same poles if you’re trying to tie the two ends together,” said committee member Maggie Peterman.

There was little support for an option with curved posts with an estimated cost of $594,880, leaving the choice between matching the downtown lights or installing 22-foot-tall mast arm posts that are more typical of rural highways at a cost of $499,000. The board could also choose to do nothing, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation would install its standard light poles at intersections and major curves. 

Through an online survey distributed by the village, 19 out of 20 respondents supported updating street lights, and 14 of those preferred lighting similar to the downtown core area. 

The village does not have a timetable to move forward on the path or street lighting, and trustees may choose a different option than the ad hoc committee recommended. 

Anderson Dock

Earlier this summer, the village signed a new lease through May 15, 2026, with the Hardy Gallery for the barn on Anderson Dock. Now the ad hoc committee is recommending that the village repair and rehab the historical structure for the future. 

The building became a village focus when water levels rose to historically high levels in 2019, sending water constantly crashing over the pier and damaging the structure. The village placed concrete barricades on the pier to help protect the building from potential ice shoves and storm damage. 

The committee is recommending that the village repair the foundation and is waiting for updated cost estimates.

Brad Rasmusson operates a tractor to move some concrete steps out of the path of high water and waves before a Thanksgiving-eve windstorm at Anderson Dock in 2019. Photo by Craig Sterrett.

Village Hall Landscaping and Parking

The village’s Public Works Committee has submitted a plan for reconfiguring parking at the village hall. The new plan would maintain the same number of spaces available now, 33, but it would locate them on the street and along the side of the building, opening the front stalls for greenery and landscaping.

The village board does not have plans to take on the project at the moment, but it asked the committee to see whether parking could be reconfigured to add green space without losing parking downtown.

A proposed new configuration for parking at the Ephraim Village Hall.

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