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County Plans Ahnapee Trail Extension

The County Airport and Parks Committee forwarded the plan for a half-mile extension of the Ahnapee State Trail on to the county board for final approval on Oct. 25. Federal, state and local grants are expected to cover the entire cost of the project, estimated at $204,500.

The extension will take the end of the trail, currently at Utah Street just across from the Bayview Bridge, north to Michigan Street, where it will connect with Crossroads at Big Creek, the YMCA, and the sidewalk system, easily linking the trail with accessibility to downtown Sturgeon Bay.

“The city took ownership of it and they couldn’t decide if they wanted it on a frontage road or east side of the highway to the west side of the highway and the trail went in limbo,” said Paul Anschutz, the driver behind the project since getting involved back in 2001. “The city gave it over to the county and George [Pinney] took it over.”

Pinney spearheaded the project as director of the Door County Parks System before his death in 2012.

“George, with his foresight and knowledge, he applied for more grant funding,” explained Anschutz.

Representatives from the city and schools offered their support of the project.

“The extension of the trail has been in the city’s plans and county’s plans for years,” wrote Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham. “It will be linked to the new sidewalks around the highway roundabout, which, in turn, will connect it to the city’s sidewalk network.”

Dan Tjernagel, superintendent of the Sturgeon Bay School District, said the trail can help connect students with other community facilities and with the rest of Sturgeon Bay.

“With our students in grades 3-12 being located just west of the YMCA and Crossroads along Michigan Street, I can see quite a benefit to such a project,” he wrote. “The positive activities available to our students and their families at these locations are excellent.”

The bulk of funding comes from a $132,000 Federal Transportation Grant from the Department of Transportation, which will cover 80 percent of the cost of construction. A stewardship grant from the Department of Natural Resources will contribute $42,062 and the remainder is made up from an anonymous local grant.

The county board will likely approve the continuation of the project with these funding sources at its Oct. 25 meeting. Anschutz said design plans should be presented to the Airport and Parks Committee in November as the project is out for bids to construction companies.

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