Council plans to clear snow from trails in Ashwaubenon

By Kevin Boneske

ASHWAUBENON – The Ashwaubenon Village Board of Directors discussed the possibility of providing better access for walkers and cyclists in the winter by funding the snow removal of 10.3 miles of paved trails in the village on June 27.

On the recommendation of village director Joel Gregozeski, the board agreed to refer the matter back to the committee level for consideration during the 2022 budget process.

“There is certainly additional information that must be provided to the board before a formal decision is taken,” he said. “We have some time to do this in preparation for our budget process for next year.”

In determining whether to fund plowing, Gregozeski said “we need to be more specific about what this level of service looks like.”

“In addition to this level of service, partner with the prioritization of trails (to plow),” he said. “Maybe that’s part of this service level conversation. Maybe some trails are cleared and cleaned earlier or more often than others, so there may be gaps that way… ”

Gregozeski said a proposal or request for proposal could be developed at the committee level for trail cleaning by a private contractor.

“With the help of the staff, we could go and get proposals from one or two companies maybe to get a more budget-conscious figure as to what we’re trying to do,” he said.

Council heard from members of the village bicycle and pedestrian committee, who proposed to a private contractor to clear the following trails and associated lengths: Packerland (3.2 miles); West Main (1.3 miles); Industrial park (1.3 miles); Acres of sand (1 mile); Waube (1 mile); Ashwaubomay River Trail (1.2 miles); and Argonne (1.3 miles).

Based on an estimated cost of $ 2,500 to $ 3,000 per mile, assuming an average winter snowfall, the committee’s proposal listed an estimated annual cost of $ 27,750 to $ 30,900.

Estimated cost is based on snow removal from trails 48 to 72 hours after snowfall greater than 2 inches.

Committee member Dale Schmitz said people walk the streets or stay indoors in the winter because they have nowhere to go.

“Our trails are covered with snow, which makes them impassable,” he said.

Schmitz said it is a double standard, or an injustice in the village, when the streets are cleared of snow, “but the safe and pleasant routes for pedestrians in winter were not part of the transport plans. local”.

“More and more cities are starting to recognize cleared trails as a significant quality of life and equity issue that deserves public support,” he said. “Ashwaubenon can and should start clearing trails during the winter months.”

Committee member Jessica Atkinson said the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of people walking, running and cycling in the community, and the need for year-round trail access is greater than never.

“In the beginning, when the trails were laid out, we know that was the talk, and it made sense at the time not to clear them (in winter),” she said.

“But we are seeing a noticeable change within our community, and that is what they are asking for. It’s not safe in our winter months for many of them to go (on the trails). ”

Atkinson said Ashwaubenon seeks to develop a vision of being an inclusive, attractive and award-winning community, and one way to achieve this would be to improve and maintain its public infrastructure and facilities.

“It also includes our roads and highways for our pedestrians and cyclists,” she said. “Maintaining these trails in winter will certainly help work towards this new vision for the village. “

Committee member Kyle Gigot said previous councils have done things to improve the village by meeting the needs and demands of citizens.

“We ask this council to be also reactive and to seriously consider these changes and to put the funds for snow removal in the budget,” he said.

Village President Mary Kardoskee said she had been in contact with Hobart Village “because the Packerland (Drive) is slightly difficult”.

“A third are in the village of Hobart, so that would be their responsibility,” she said. “That would be one of their budget items… About 80% of this trail falls on the Oneida reserve so I thought they should be advised if we are going to continue to salt this trail as it is on reserve land .

Kardoskee said Hobart is not cleaning the Packerland track, and she has been told she has no desire to plow it.

She said clearing snow from the trails would be a “big change in policy.”

“We’ve never done that,” Kardoskee said. “Like I said, we don’t have the internal staff to be able to do that, so it’s definitely a contracted item.”
Administrator Jay Krueger asked if $ 30,000 would be enough to clear snow from the trails.

“I’m all for that it’s something that I think we need to consider within the budget, but I don’t think 30K is enough,” he said. “When I was president of a church in Allouez, we spent 10K on 100 parking spaces in the winter, so I think 30K is very short.”

Krueger said he was in favor of obtaining offers for trail snow removal for budgeting purposes.

Administrator Steve Kubacki, who was previously the administrator of the village of Ashwaubenon over ten years ago, said it was specifically stated that when the trails entered they should not be cleared of snow in the winter.

“It was part of the sale of these trails,” he said. “They had to be mowed and maintained for spring, summer and fall, but not for winter. This was specifically discussed at that time.

Kubacki said the question of whether to plow the trails now should be done during the budget process.

“It’s going to be expensive to keep these roads and trails in great shape,” he said. “If you want to do it, you’re going to want to do it right. “

Administrator Tracy Flucke, who chairs the bikes and pedestrians committee, said it’s important for people in the community to be able to walk and cycle year-round.

“We can certainly look for (clear the tracks) more, but I think that has to be part of the budget process and given due consideration to make it part of the 2022 budget,” she said.