After decades of discussion, a pathway is finally under construction along Juneau Boulevard in Elm Grove.
"It was first discussed back in 1960 by the Public Works Committee," said Village of Elm Grove Manager Dave De Angelis. "It has been brought up periodically throughout the years."
Constructing a pathway was approved nearly two years ago and added to the village's capital budget for 2013; however, the project met with another delay.
"We went out for bid in the middle of the year last year; unfortunately, the bid prices came in way too high," De Angelis said. "We rejected them and re-bid it out this spring. The numbers came back more in line with what we were expecting."
The village has hired Blaze Landscaping as the general contractor for the project. The pathway is expected to cost $271,695 and will run for 3,425 feet between the entrance to Village Park and Highland Drive.
"The substantial completion date is Sept. 1, but they should be done with paving by mid-July," he said. "That's taking place right now."
In the late 1980s, the village conducted pedestrian pathway studies through outside engineering firms, and in the 90s, the Juneau path was actually put into the capital budget; however, it never came to fruition due to costs.
"Then it came back up in the late 2000s, and it's been an ongoing discussion for several years," De Angelis said. "Finally, it was approved after a lot of public discussion."
De Angelis noted that even after many years, there was still considerable opposition among some residents who didn't want the sidewalk going in front of their houses.
"There were of course people who didn't want the path and then obviously those who advocated for it," he said.
The new pathway will be open to use by both pedestrians and bicyclists. De Angelis noted that safety and a healthier lifestyle are other attributes of additional pathways in a municipality.
"Having a pathway is definitely safer than having pedestrians on the roads," he said. "When you make accommodations for people to do certain activities, it definitely assists them in doing those activities. When we put pathways in (Village) Park, we used to not see people walking around. Now, at any given time, there's dozens of people taking walks or jogging."
De Angelis also noted that Juneau may not be the only street in the village to become more pedestrian-friendly in the near future.
"The village has talked a lot about other pathways or pathway connections," he said. "As part of that, we did a survey a couple years ago asking about pedestrian and bicycle safety, and there were other areas that were identified."
Other streets that could soon follow Juneau in getting a makeover include Gebhardt Road, Highland Drive and Watertown Plank Road.
"I think that pathways will be continued to be discussed as potential future projects for our village," De Angelis said.
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