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BelmontPlatteville trail grading work set to start this summer
Paving schedule unknown, but trail will be passable once graded
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Eleven years after it was proposed, work on the Belmont-to-Platteville trail is scheduled to begin this year.

When the trail will be paved and finished depends on when money for the trail becomes available. However, the trail will be open after grading.

Lafayette County Highway Commissioner Tom Jean said the trail will be built in two phases. The first phase, scheduled for bid in June, will include construction and grading.

The second phase, paving the trail, will be scheduled when funds become available.

The Lafayette County Board Feb. 23 approved a resolution supporting a funding application for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program for the trail project in TAP’s 2016–20 award cycle.

The TAP application has been submitted, but it needed a letter of support from the sponsoring county, Lafayette County.

Sup. Jack Wiegel of the Town of Wiota asked if the trail would be open after the first phase is completed, and Jean said it would be open. 

Jean said the project has taken so long and has grown from $1.2 million to $2 million over the 11-year period because the old railroad corridor goes through five different properties and those landowners did not want their land split up. 

The land division issue will be resolved by a land swap between owners and the county. The state Department of Natural Resources has deeded the old railroad corridor to Lafayette County, so the county would be able to sell that land to the landowners and then buy land at the edge of their property for the trail.

The board also heard from Josh Bohach of EDP Renewables, formerly Horizon Wind Power, about an addendum to the development agreement between the Quilt Block Wind Farm LLC and the county for its Town of Seymour wind farm project. 

The addendum was to change the address and information about the company since it changed its name in 2011. Bohach said no other changes have been made to their agreement. 

The 98-megawatt project will feature 30 to 49 wind turbines. The project is at a confidential stage trying to secure a buyer, Bohach said.

The board also approved the purchase of one tandem axle truck with winter equipment for the Highway Department for up to $170,000, and one end loader for the Highway Department costing $175,000 to $200,000.

The board approved a $150,000 loan to Wisconsin Whey Protein, Inc., from the revolving loan fund program. The fund has a current balance of $253,000.

The board also approved borrowing up to $2.4 million. The county’s debt level totals $3.7 million, which is 7 percent of its borrowing capabilities.

The board approved two sets of pay increases — the Confidential Executive Administrative Assistant at the Sheriff’s Department by $1 per hour, and salary increases for the County Clerk, Treasurer and Register of Deeds annually from 2017 to 2020.