Construction is moving forward at a faster pace than anticipated on the Moving Platteville Outdoors Rountree Branch Trail project, with construction expected to be completed by Sept. 1.
Blacktopping is completed on half of the trail, from Mineral Street to the start of the future Platteville-to-Belmont Trail behind East Business 151 businesses.
“It is now time to note the real story here — an entire community coming together to give something special to their residents, local businesses, and students — a wonderful collaborative leadership group headed up by three non-profits (Platteville Community Arboretum, Platteville Community Fund, and Building Platteville) plus the City of Platteville,” said MPO’s Gene Weber. “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 land owners who provided easements all made for a tremendously successful community effort that some thought impossible. Area companies and individuals have contributed more than $200,000 in kind materials and services to the trail project in addition to significant financial contributions.
The Moving Platteville Outdoors Steering Committee is made up of representatives from the Platteville Community Arboretum, Platteville Community Fund, Building Platteville, and the City of Platteville. Weber served as MPO Steering Committee chair, Tom Nelson as PCA/MPO engineering and construction lead, Frank Steck as PCA tree removal project lead, Beth Frieders as service auction lead, Julie Pluemer as project treasurer, Jen Schweigert as raffle sales lead, Amy Seeboth-Wilson as Tour De Trail co-lead who establishing web site giving; and Mike Penn was on the MPO Steering and Engineering/Construction Committee.
Members of the MPO steering committee had additional roles. Angie Wright served as MPO residential drive lead, and Duane DeYoung was MPO local business fund raising lead. Mike Olds helped significantly in the final month of fund raising.
“The original Fund Raisers got us off to a great start helping us gain the DNR grant,” said Weber, naming Myron Tranel, DeYoung, Angie Wright, Brian Stuart, Tang, Jan Haverland, Jim Schneller, Joe and Mandi Jacquinot, Julie Klein, Matt Melby, Mike Ubersox, Barb Stockhausen and Tim Ingram. For the final effort, many others lent a hand, including Olds, Barb Daus, John Utley, Bill Vandeest, Charles Clark, Chris Justman, Darin Shireman, Dennis Cooley, Ed Faherty, Frank Steck, Tom Osterholz, Jen Schweigert, Katherine Burke, Kris Wright, Mary Rosemeyer, Mike Penn, Mike Mair, Nate Curry, Patti Eggers, Robin Fatzinger, Ron Weier, Scott Wright and Tom Nelson.
Other project fund raising leaders included Barb Winkler of Mound City Bank, Mike Moran of Fidelity Bank, Doug Martin of Livingston State Bank, Tracy Wiegel and Lynn Johnson of Bargain Nook, Hannah Adams of Wild Sanctuary Massage, the Platteville Regional Chamber, the Rotary Club, Optimists, Jack Luedtke of Platteville Main Street, Joni Brugger of Esterline Avista, Lynne Tanner and Amelia Armstrong of Platteville Public Schools, UW–Platteville Society of Pre-Health, Jay woodhouse and Amy Delyea-Petska of PCA/UW–Platteville Rountree Spree 10K Race, Dr. Yari Johnson of UW–Platteville Reclamation, Dr. Rick Bockhop of UW–Platteville Ag Structures and Julie Klein of Benvenutos.
Southwest Health, PCA and UW–Platteville Health Promotions sponsored Tour De Trail while Beth Frieders, Denee Hirsch and Amy Seeboth hosted the community service auction.
The recent easement agreements signed by Jim Rosemeyer, Innovative Ag Services, AB Johansen, LLC, Four Seasons, 4A Properties, BSK, STS Associates, Tom Heiser, John Utley and Fiesta Cancun enabled the trail to be constructed, along with easements provided 15 to 20 years ago.
Some lessons Weber said the steering committee learned through this process for others involved in large community projects might use include:
• Having several organizations share leadership brings more resources and talent to successfully implement a project this size.
• Starting fundraising early (at concept stage well before design is complete) as this process takes months and you learn much from donors during the process.
• Granting organizations and foundations may be more likely to fund a project that has multiple strong collaborative leadership groups and demonstrated wide ranging community support.
• Effective grant writing, gaining face to face input from the granting organization as to what they are looking for in grant requests, and networking with your elected officials to support grant requests are all critical components for success.
• Gaining community input and keeping the interested community updated and aware of progress reminds those who want to help of where and how they might do so — and the volunteers keep coming.