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Hobart to contract with Brown County master trail plan

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOBART – The village is contracting with the Brown County Planning Commission to develop a bike and pedestrian master plan for Hobart.

After a request for proposals for such a plan was issued by Hobart last year, Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said he was contacted by Cole Runge, the commission’s principal planner/Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) director, about Brown County Planning doing that free for villages and towns.

“Obviously, that’s a good deal, compared to what we were being told we’d probably be spending,” Kramer said.

In seeking federal funding for an initiative that could connect various portions of the village and to trails in neighboring communities, Kramer said the Oneida Tribe has indicated it is willing to participate.

“We’ve been very clear that we want this all done in public right-of-ways,” he said. “It does not require land acquisition.”

The plan proposal provided by Brown County Planning calls for MPO staff to work with the Pulaski Community School District, Hillcrest Elementary School, Hobart-Lawrence Police Department and other stakeholders “to develop initiatives that enable and encourage people to walk and bicycle in Hobart.”

An advisory committee would also be formed as part of the plan development process, though Kramer noted the village board would have the final say on the possible implementation of any recommendations made by the advisory committee.

“The timing of this is relatively good because we have, obviously, the (State Highway 29 and County Trunk VV) interchange coming, and there is a pedestrian trail component to that,” he said. “We want to tie what we’re doing into that, otherwise it’s truly going to be a trail to nowhere, out in the middle of nowhere.”

The various steps included in the master plan schedule include a kick-off meeting with Hobart officials this month and final approval slated for October.

Packerland trail

Kramer said Hobart has been contacted by the village of Ashwaubenon to do a trail along Packerland Drive to loop Ashwaubenon’s trail system.

“Yes, we embrace it, but there is a cost involved,” he said. “The last time I talked to them, they steered me to grants from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that could pay, not all, but a portion of it.”

To construct an 8-foot-wide asphalt trail approximately 6,000 lineal feet along Packerland Drive from Fernando Drive to Orlando Drive, an estimate provided to the village of Hobart in November by Robert E. Lee & Associates put the total cost at $333,844.

To be able to finance that trail project, Kramer said funding could come from multiple sources, such as parks and recreation, storm water, general capital and Tax Incremental District financing.

“It would truly be a Frankenstein funding approach,” he said. “That’s something we’re not going to worry about until at the end of this year.”

Kramer said whether the project would proceed is also contingent upon the village receiving grant funding from the state DOT.

“Ashwaubenon did indicate to me that when you do a grant that’s just a stand-alone trail, you don’t get high ranking,” he said. “But when include the word ‘loop,’ that boosts you to the top. Obviously, we’re part of a loop.”

Board members agreed to have staff proceed with seeking grants and funding sources for the project, which has a target date to install in 2020.

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