CONSTRUCTION began in late April on the bike path connecting Green Lake, Ripon and Berlin. This is phase one of the project, which will be completed by the end of July. Tim Lyke photo
by Hannah Tetzlaff
Individuals may not have to wait long to grab a bike and traverse an 18-mile bike path connecting Green Lake, Ripon and Berlin.
Construction on the path began late last month, noted President Howard Hansen of Green Lake Greenways, a 12-year-old group of biking and trail enthusiasts leading the charge to build the bike path.
“They broke ground [Tuesday, April 21] and … we’re doing actually three phases of the trail and this is the start of phase one,” Hansen said.
He explained phase one is called the “bookends,” meaning construction is beginning on the 3-mile swath of land in the middle section of the 18-mile trail. The ends of that 3-mile stretch will be created and paved, with one end running from County Road PP to Brooklyn J Road, and the other from Highway 49 to Forest Ridge Road.
“We’re expecting to be done no later than the end of July. It could be quicker depending on weather, but no later than July,” Hansen said, regarding phase one of the project.
GREEN LAKE GREENWAYS breaks ground on its bike path last month. Workers began digging and marking the parts of the path by Highway 49 and Forest Ridge Road. Tim Lyke photo
Phase two will include constructing the middle portion of the 3-mile swath of land between the two ends, from Forest Ridge Road to Brooklyn J Road, and phase three will involve connecting County Road PP to Koro Road and then from Highway 49 up along County Road A to Crossroads Market.
Once this 3-mile section of the bike path is constructed, the 18-mile path will be completed, connecting Berlin, Green Lake and Ripon, and utilizing trails such as the Northwestern Trail and the Mascoutin Valley State Trail. Hansen noted this will provide a safe way for individuals to bike from Ripon to Green Lake and to Berlin.
“We’re a private group … we’ve been working hard and just want to make something nice in the Green Lake-Ripon area for transportation because when I was a kid, we used to ride our bikes from Ripon to Green Lake. It wasn’t really the safest thing, so this will be a nice, safe pathway,” he said.
Though construction may have begun on the first phase of the project, Hansen was unsure when the entire project would be completed since Green Lake Greenways still needs to raise funds via either grants or donations to cover the cost of the middle section of that 3-mile swatch.
“The total cost to this project is just a little under $1 million,” Hansen said. “And we’ve been working on this for six to seven years getting to this point.”
He noted the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down Green Lake Greenways’ efforts, pointing out people are not as willing to donate now or cannot donate the promised amount quite yet.
“It has affected us greatly. We’ve had some individuals that are doing private donations which are either through stocks or bonds … that have held off on that because of the stock market taking a dive,” Hansen said. “They’re guaranteeing their promise; it’s just they’re not doing it right at this time because the value is down. That’s been a big, big problem with it, right there. But as far as the work aspect going on, they can operate the way they are. Construction workers are in their own vehicles, so that’s not a problem on that aspect.”
Though Green Lake Greenways has hit some bumps in the road, it will keep pedaling toward its goal.
“We’ll keep moving along. We’re looking for donations and we’ll continue to move the project forward,” Hansen said, noting individuals could donate by visiting the Green Lake Greenways website at www.greenlakegreenways.com/about-us and clicking on the “Donate” tab.