The Platteville Parks, Forestry and Recreation Committee recommended approval May 19 of the proposed Knoll Wood Park single-track trail.
That put the ball, so to speak, in the court of the Common Council, which heard from supporters, while bringing up opposition, May 27.
City recreation coordinator Luke Peters described the trail as a “low-maintenance, smaller dirt path” similar to the trail in Mound View Park constructed by Platteville Human Powered Trails last year.
Peters said residents in the area — Knoll Wood Way, Hillcrest Circle and Highbury Circle — oppose the trail because of concerns over privacy, “the need for the trail since there’s an existing paved trail,” and “the difference between green space and recreational space.”
At-large Ald. Mike Denn said he had heard from a number of residents in that area who were opposed to the trail. No one spoke in opposition to the trail at the meeting, though two spoke in opposition at the parks committee meeting.
“There’s nine or 10 who are vehemently opposed to this that live there,” said Denn.
One issue that so far hasn’t been resolved is the exact location of the trail. During the walking tour of the trail May 1, one resident claimed the proposed trail went over his property.
“Efforts were made to find the lot lines,” said Peters.
Director of Public Works Howard Crofoot said no registered surveyor had “definitively identified all these locations” of where individual lots end and the park begins.
“Some residents may have encroached onto parkland,” he said. “That’s something we need to work out.
“I don’t intend to spend city money to hire a surveyor and follow these guys around and find the lot lines.”
“I think it’s the owner’s responsibility to know his lot line,” said District 1 Ald. Barb Stockhausen.
One Knoll Wood Way resident, Carly Borcherding, spoke in support of the project.
“There is a need for more walking trails” and “more parks on the south side of Platteville,” she said, adding the trail would have “the least amount of ecological development on it.”
“There is actually science behind this; it’s not just guys and gals blazing a trail with shovels through the woods,” said PFPT member Les Hollingsworth. “This situation does kind of force a precedent for the city — can a small vocal group override” a larger “majority,” which he said was “not necessarily fair to the community at large” — “a small group in a residential neighborhood that wants to have a buffer in their back yard.”
Hollingsworth added that the cost of the project was “miniscule” compared to other city projects.
“We want to attract young middle-class families to the Platteville area,” he said. “This trail is exactly one of the ways to do that.”
City resident Margaret Ruf described the area as “community-owned shared green space,” and called activities on the trail “challenging, safe, fun, clean and healthy play.”
The trail proposal is tentatively scheduled to be on the council’s agenda Tuesday.