Longer Link: 3-mile Springbrook Trail Extension Set to Open in 2024
January 22, 2024
Antigo Daily Journal
The Springbrook Trail is set to extend by nearly three miles in 2024, another in a series of additions planned in the coming years for the trail.
Some city leaders hope it will eventually run nearly the entire length of the city and link up directly in the northern commercial district.
The trail — the majority of which was constructed in 2010, runs from Peaceful Valley to North Avenue, and includes several bridges and boardwalks — will be expanded to include two substantial segments in the new year.
Most of the east side segment, beginning at the end of the existing trail at the North Avenue and Charlotte intersection, will flow north along Charlotte Street, and end shortly after crossing Hwy. 64. The other segment will begin on the west side of the city on 1st Ave. and run north along Hogan St., culminating with a low-level boardwalk on Center St; it will also include a loop around Remington Lake.
“The majority is going to be offroad, which is excellent,” Antigo Parks, Recreation, and Cemetery Director Sarah Repp said. “That section that runs north and south along Charlotte on the east side is going to be offroad.”
“So all the apartments and kids that are trying to access the park space and facilities from midtown and downtown, they’ll have a way to do that safely, not on the road. Where we’ll pick back up on the west side is over by the dog park where our crews are going to be building another low-level boardwalk like the one that already exists on the current trail system.
Then there will be a connection that runs down Hogan Street.”
The speed limit will be reduced along the section of Hwy. 64 trail-users will cross and rapid flashing beacons will be installed similar to others at pedestrian crossings with high vehicle traffic in the city.
Repp said when exactly construction on the addition will begin remains unclear, as the city council has yet to review bids from contractors vying for the project, which is projected to cost approximately $1 million, 80% of which will be funded by a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant the city received from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT).
Repp, along with City of Antigo Project Manager Charley Brinkmeier, said community support the trail has received (since the trail’s inception, for example, just under $100,000 has been donated for benches and other trailside features alone) has emboldened them in their plans to expand the trail even further in the coming years. In particular, they hope to eventually build a cross section along Highway 64 that directly connects what after this year will be substantial, parallel-running east and west branches.
“When they’re going to be connected is going to depend on local funding and what grants come out, so it’s kind of a toss-up,” Brinkmeier said, adding that when the project was first proposed, it received relatively fierce opposition in the city, but that many of those opponents changed their view of the project after the Springbrook Trail actually opened in 2010.
“Since the first section on that trail was built, it really changed the minds of a lot of people,” Brinkmeier said. “I don’t think they realized what was back there, but when they started walking through there and got to see the wildlife and everything else that was back there, they thought, ‘Oh, this is pretty neat.’ In 2005, trail systems were just coming out in other communities as well, and people from here were going there and saying, ‘This is really neat — why can’t we have this?’ That’s what really started this and former City Administrator Dale Soumas really took the bull by the horns and was really creative about how to get funding and support to do it.”
Repp said the trail is a substantial asset to the community.
“Continuing to add segments of the trail that provide a broader trail system and connections throughout our community is important for our residents for transportation, getting from place to place within our community, and it also shows when we apply for future grant funding that we have considerable community support for this trail system,” Repp said. “To be able to provide an amenity like this to the community which is something where people can get outside and walk or run or bike and is completely free, it’s an opportunity for anybody to get outside and safely commute to either their home or place of work or shopping or anything and safely be able to do it.”