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Volunteers help rebuild walkway on Shabbona Drive



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May 19, 2010 | 08:48 AM
Fontana — A crew made up of a soon-to-be Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts, the Big Foot Football team and other local volunteers dug their hands into the dirt to reopen an old path on Shabbona Drive.

On Saturday and Sunday, the crew laid gravel, built stairs and created landscape along the path, which is commonly referred to as "Path Closed" or the "Fourth of July Path."

The end result of the volunteer's efforts is an improved walkway that connects the top of Country Club Estates to Shabbona Drive.

"It just looks wonderful," Trustee Cynthia Wilson said of the finished product.

Daniel Freitag, a 15-year-old Big Foot High School freshman, volunteered to help spearhead the project, which will help him earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

For a Boy Scout to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the scouting program, the candidate must receive 21 merit badges, demonstrate scout spirit and complete a community service project.

"It's nothing I've ever experienced before. I've never done this type of project," Freitag said Saturday morning.

Bringing the group together

For several years, the village has discussed reopening Path Closed. During a Community Development Authority meeting, Dale Broeckert, an engineer with Foth, heard the group discussing the project.

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Broeckert, an Eagle Scout himself, suggested that project would be perfect for a Boy Scout looking to become an Eagle Scout.

At that time, Freitag was looking for an Eagle project.

"They sent out an e-mail that they needed a trail because the old one washed out," Freitag said.

He saw the path as the perfect project to help springboard him to the rank of Eagle.

So, he worked with Broeckert to plan construction of the path which is between 330 and 350 feet. Freitag also organized volunteers to help him with the project.

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Volunteers including Broecker, who brought his family to help, Public Works Director Craig Workman, Boy Scouts, and other community members.

Wilson said enough can't be said about how hard the volunteers worked over the weekend.

Big Foot Football coach Rodney Wedig and his team also came out to help Sunday.

"I can't say enough about the Big Foot football team and Coach Wedig," Wilson said. "These guys got out there and they worked and worked and worked. It was a wonderful community project."

Wilson said Peter Novak, owner of Novak's Restaurant, provided box lunches at cost, and neighbors who live near the path bought pizza and soda for the volunteers.

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"It was just a wonderful community activity," Wilson said. "I'm just so grateful to the volunteers. There aren't even words to describe it."

Why was the project needed

Years ago, the path was available to residents of County Club Estates, but the weather took a toll on it.

"It has been a victim of pretty serious erosion," Wilson said.

Eventually, the village put a sign on the path that stated it was closed, but residents still used it. However, the path reached a point where residents could no longer walk through it.

Before the village worked with Freitag to install the path, it installed stormwater sewers along the path to prevent it from being destroyed by erosion again.

After the stormwater sewer was installed, the village agreed to spend about $5,500 in tax increment funds to purchase materials for the path.

Freitag is part of Troop 234. Freitag joined Tiger Scouts in the first-grade and continued in the scouting program because he enjoys camping and other outdoor activities.

He also is involved in Cross Country and Track and is part of an acting group based out of Waukesa.

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