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After years of planning, Bay opens bike path



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July 08, 2014 | 02:36 PM
WILLIAMS BAY — The sign says “Path Ends.”

But this is where it started on Saturday.

Village President John Marra led a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the opening of the first section of the village’s bike path.

The ceremony took place on the north side of Geneva Street, just east of the Café Calamri parking lot, and west of the sailboat rigging area.

Among those in attendance were former state Sen. Neal Kedzie, who helped the village acquire the state grants that paid for 80 percent of the path construction costs; Karen Krolow, who wrote the grant requests on behalf of the village; and Lynne Landgraf, now a school board member, as a village resident helped start the push to create a bike path system in the village.

The path is part asphalt and part crushed gravel, and about 1,200 feet long. The crushed gravel section parallels Southwick Creek.

Cost of the path was about $93,000, with 80 percent of the costs covered by two state grants.

The importance of this section of pathway is that it bypasses the traffic-heavy intersection at Geneva Street and Highway 67, Marra said.

The other end of the path ends at Highway 67 and Olive Street, facing Daddy Maxwell’s Diner.

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Marra said plans call for the path to be expanded in the future to connect the village’s schools and parks.

Also at the ribbon cutting was Burlington artist Bradley Lueck, who donated the simple black-metal sculpture that now marks this entrance to the bike path. The sculpture is in memory of Lueck’s friend, Aaron Proctor.

Proctor and Lueck got to know each other when they lived in Williams Bay about 20 years ago, Lueck said. Proctor had been an avid bicyclist who fell in love with the area.

An Army engineer, Proctor served in Iraq. He died at his home in Sheboygan in 2012.

Proctor’s parents, Edward and Nancy Proctor of Normal, Ill., made the 170-mile journey from their home to Williams Bay to make the ribbon cutting.

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Edward Proctor said it was his first visit to Geneva Lake. Like his son, he found the Williams Bay area beautiful.

In remarks just prior to the ribbon cutting, Kedzie, who recently resigned his senate seat to become president of the Motor Carriers Association, which represents truck and bus companies, said helping the village get the grants “was just part of his job” as a state senator.

Drawings of the complete plans for the Williams Bay bike path show it stretching from the east village limits on Geneva Street to 67, then north, past its current terminus on Olive, to Stark Street across from the main entrance to Kishwauketoe Nature Preserve.

The path would then follow Stark west to Williams Street, run south on Williams back to Geneva and west to the village limits.

A second path would run north and south from Angels Lane north on Lake Shore Drive past the George Williams Campus, then straight north on Theatre Road to the village recreation area on the northern village limits.

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The two paths would connect with proposed Fontana bike paths, the east-west path meeting Fontana’s bike path on Highway 67 and the north-south path connecting with the proposed Fontana path at Angels Lane.

In his statement, Marra also extended thanks to former village board trustees Don Parker and John Grove, as well as Bill Gage, owner of Gage Marine, Harold Friestad, president of the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy’s board of directors; Jerry Mehring, village public works director, Mid-America Bank and area property owner Tony Navillio for their cooperation in creating the path.

Talk of building a village bike path started years ago, but planning for the path didn’t start in earnest until 2006.

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