By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The village board approved a resolution last month to authorize Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Rex Mehlberg to submit a grant application to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for available financial aid to build a bridge crossing the Ashwaubenon Creek between Ashwaubomay Park and Aldon Station as part of the Ashwaubomay River Trail.
Mehlberg said the bridge would expand the trail to the south.
“Currently the southern part of it ends at the Bay Harbor condominium complex,” he said. “We are in the process of expanding that around the Aldon Station housing development. The next phase would be a pedestrian bridge that goes from Aldon Station across the mouth of Ashwaubenon Creek into Ashwaubomay Park.”
Mehlberg said the potential exists to get some funding from the DNR in the Sports Fish Restoration (SFR) grant program.
“It would help us pay for a portion of the bridge, as well as a fishing bumpout that would be on the bridge itself,” he said.
The resolution states the village budgeted funds to complete the project with financial aid required to carry it out with the bridge used for fishing at the mouth of Ashwaubenon Creek.
At the board’s April 28 meeting, it approved a contract for Graef to be the consultant/planner for the pedestrian bridge/trail extension.
The contract for Graef, a consultant for multiple bridge projects in the Fox Valley, is for a lump sum of $123,500.
However, items such as geotechnical sub-consultant investigation work are expected to range between $25,500 to $30,500, and riverbed sediment laboratory analysis for approximately $525 per sample are not included in the contract fee.
Graef’s proposal for professional engineering services for the bridge includes a four-month construction timeframe from July-October 2021.
The village budgeted for the bridge project with funds in Tax Incremental Financing District No. 3, while a grant would allow remaining TIF dollars to be used for additional amenities or potentially another project.
After hearing a presentation from the DNR’s Brianna Kupsky about the lower Bay of Green Bay and Fox River being an area of concern because of degraded water quality, sediment contamination and loss of fish and wildlife habitat, the board approved a partnership between the village and DNR related to Ashwaubenon Creek and Ashwaubomay Park.
Mehlberg said a number of projects would be beneficial to Ashwaubomay Park related to shoreline stabilization, invasive species removal and improved wildlife habitat for park visitors.
He said the DNR is able to apply for federal grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Natural Resource Damage and Assessment program, and the partnership would involve staff time, but no additional village dollars.