Two months ago, approval of an unpaved trail in Knoll Wood Park in Platteville seemed a questionable proposition, despite approval by the City of Platteville Parks, Forestry and Recreation Committee.
One month ago, the Common Council tabled the proposal after more than 40 residents of the area registered their opposition to the trail.
One month later, the Common Council unanimously approved the trail July 8.
The council’s vote to table the proposal June 10 prompted meetings between Platteville Human Powered Trails, which proposed the trail, and residents of the Knoll Wood Park area, starting the day after the June council meeting.
“A trust began,” said neighborhood resident Tom Sigwarth after the first meeting between PHPT and neighborhood residents. “We saw their hearts; they saw our hearts.”
“I don’t think we can win over everybody, but I think we have gained some trust,” said PHPT member Les Hollingsworth at the July 8 council meeting.
“I think we’re in a good place with the neighbors,” said Mark Hirsch, who has a large trail system on his farm south of Platteville.
PHPT then wrote a Memorandum of Understanding with its intentions for trail construction and operation:
• PHPT would pay for construction and maintenance of the trail, and would install and maintain signage.
• PHPT would construct the trail no closer than 10 feet to property owners’ lot lines, and use topography to minimize “line of sight from the private adjacent properties’ back yards.” The memo says most of the trail would be between 20 feet and 20 yards away from lot lines.
• No living trees larger than 3 inches in diameter would be removed during trail construction.
• After the trail’s grand opening, PHPT would conduct no events of more than 50 attendees at the trail.
The proposed trail of 2 to 3 feet width is similar is similar to a trail PHPT built in Mound View Park last year. The trail will run to the east of Knollwood Way along the current paved trail, then run west and north of Hillcrest Circle and east of Highbury Circle, then loop back north west of Wisconsin 80/81 and behind West Business 151 restaurants and bars south of Rountree Branch.
The only opposition mentioned at the meeting was a letter signed by four people.
The 11.87 acres of Knoll Wood Park was deeded to the city in 1977, and “dedicated to the public for park and drainage,” said city recreation coordinator Luke Peters in May.