By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer
WESTON, Wis – Weston village officials are continuing to work on a plan to improve the Eau Claire River by building a full network of kayak and canoe launches.
The village is currently in the process of writing grants to help pay for the construction of more kayak launches along what’s being called the Lower Eau Claire River Water Trail. Work was completed on a fully accessible kayak launch along Ross Avenue in 2016, and now village officials want to build another access point alongside the County Road J bridge over the river near the D. C. Everest Middle School.
Village administrator Dan Guild said the grants will all be applied for between now and May 1, and the village will find out if they get the grants by September.
“That means we would start doing earthmoving late 2018 and then finish it off early 2019,” Guild said.
Getting those grants is important because there’s currently no funding available in the village budget to pay for the projects.
The vicinity of the County Road J project to the Middle School also opens up new possibilities for partnerships with the school district. Guild says they’re already working on discussions on improving safe access to the school from County Road J and working to build curriculum on river conservation and other topics.
The County Road J access point is just part of an overall construction plan that includes points all along the Eau Claire River from Club House Road in Ringle to the Brooks and Ross Dam in Wausau. It’s a 15 mile trip along the river that village officials describe as perfect for day trips. Current improved access points are along Ross Avenue and at the Yellow Banks Park in Weston.
Village officials are looking for partnerships with neighboring communities along the river to help with standardized branding and signage to help make the improvements easy to use. Guild says the groundwork is ready to go to create a Friends of The River Water Trail program to help sustain the program into the future.
“When it comes to park and rec, it’s our job to be a facilitator to create connections for the community to achieve their goals.”
For more information on the project, you can visit https://westonwi.gov/506/