ALLOUEZ - Local philanthropist and KI CEO Dick Resch jump-started the East River Trail project Tuesday morning with a check for $100,000.
“It's a pleasure to continue to contribute to the well-being of the park system here in Allouez,” Resch said.
Resch helped fund the original trail more than 20 years ago.
“All five of my kids have been on the trail with me running and biking.”
But decades of use are starting to show.
“We got a lot of areas that the roots have pushed the asphalt up, so it's not really good for say, roller-bladers or even someone jogging,” Allouez Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Brad Lange said.
As part of the improvements, the trail will be made wider: from six feet to ten feet. There will also be a two-foot-wide shoulder on each side.
“We got some very tight curves, and some of those we're going to try and smooth out a little bit, so that the sight line is much better for individuals that are on the trail,” Lange said.
“The dog takes up a lot of room, so it's nice to be able to not have to move to the side, so that everyone can share the road equally,” said trail user Amy Barker of Allouez.
Fred Brown, 87, says he walks here almost every day.
That's great for me. I used to walk the river trail down here until I got hit by a bicycle. There's no bells on them, most of them,” Brown said.
A Department of Natural Resources grant will cover half the cost of the $650,000 project. Resch's donation will help the Village of Allouez pick up the rest.
“I think we're going to maintain what we have,” Lange said. “I don't think we're going to lose much of anything, and that's one of the biggest selling points of the trail, that it is a walk in the woods.”
The eight-mile-long trail winds its way through four communities: Green Bay, Allouez, De Pere and Ledgeview.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in the spring.
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