The culmination of what became a four-year project to pave and light the Rountree Branch Trail will be this afternoon.
The grand opening of the Moving Platteville Outdoors David Canny Rountree Branch Trail paving and lighting project will be at the trail entrance near Delta 3 Engineering at 875 S. Chestnut St. today at 5 p.m.
Pizzeria Uno in Platteville will host a celebration party following the ceremony.
MPO organizers invited the public to walk the trail today before the grand opening. Platteville Public Schools students walked the trail as part of today’s physical education classes. Warco Transportation provided free shuttle buses to the school district’s four schools, according to MPO members.
The three-mile trail starts near UW–Platteville and runs roughly along Rountree Branch to where the future Platteville-to-Belmont trail will begin. Between the west trail entrance and Valley Road, the trail is the closest thing to a Business 151 sidewalk.
MPO chair Gene Weber credited the “wonderful collaborative leadership group of three non-profits (Platteville Community Arboretum, Platteville Community Fund, and Building Platteville) and the City of Platteville” for leading the project. “This team benefited tremendously from the support of approximately 37 fundraisers and many other project leaders, who conducted nearly 30 fundraising efforts involving more than 1,500 people. More than 500 donors and several land owners who provided easements all contributed to this tremendously successful community effort. Area businesses and individuals contributed more than $200,000 in kind materials and services to the trail project in addition to the significant financial contributions.”
The project was finished in August on time after a three-month delay due to what Weber called “DNR approval of a stream repair design and a further delay due to the Ozark minnow reproduction.”
More than half of the $1.67 million in funding came from government sources, including the $642,692 state Department of Natural Resources matching grant, and a $45,000 federal Recreational Trails Program grant.
The City of Platteville contributed $285,000. The city originally approved a $50,000 matching grant in 2012 to what then was PCA’s “3 for $100K” project, to improve the trail and replace the trail bridge near Business 151 and Valley Road. In March 2014, PCA replaced the “3 for $100K” project with Moving Platteville Outdoors, the proposal to pave and light the trail from Chestnut Street to the trail intersection north of Menards.
The council in March 2014 increased the city commitment to $200,000, taking the original $50,000 and another $20,000 from parking impact fees, $25,000 from the park Capital Improvement Plan, and $105,000 from Tax Incremental Financing District 5.
In August 2015, the council voted unanimously to add another $85,000 in financial commitment, with $23,000 from the Robert and Marjorie Graham Community Fund, and $62,000 from funds that were to be used for work on the city’s Municipal Building last year.
About 16 percent of the project was funded by residential contributions and service clubs, with 14 percent from local business donations, and 12 percent from grants and business donations from outside Platteville.
More than 40 volunteers also have been working on the trail, removing invasive species, planting gardens, trees and native plants, and installing fences, benches, trail kiosks and bike racks.
“Many of these wonderful volunteers have stepped up to lead the newly organized future PCA Maintenance/Operations group and the Planning group,” said Weber. “This will assure what we have built will continue to be well maintained.”