A group of local residents is taking steps to make Waukon a more inviting place to walk. Walk-On Waukon is a non-profit organization which recently was formed to address the fact that many areas within the city do not have sidewalks.
Group co-organizer Brooke Troendle said, “Jayne McCormick and I were walking and discussing how there are a lot of areas in Waukon that do not have sidewalks. We also talked about how generations before us worked really hard to make sure we had a nice city park, swimming pool and Wellness Center.”
Troendle said when she and McCormick approached the Waukon City Council to discuss the matter, they realized the City already had a lot of infrastructure projects and improvements that were needed in Waukon.
“They were not against the idea of improving the sidewalks, but they suggested we look into funding options like grants,” she said.
Troendle and McCormick next formed a committee, enlisting the help of fellow local residents Amy Johnson, Jessica Wilkins, Emily Moore and Trish Shelton. They soon enlisted the advice of Ashley Christensen, Safe Routes to School liaison with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission; Ardie Kuhse of Waukon Economic Development Corporation and Waukon City Manager Dean Hilgerson.
“They were a great sounding board,” said Troendle, adding they also talked with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) early on.
NOT THE FIRST
When the Walk-On Waukon committee started visiting with others, they discovered theirs was actually the third group in recent years to address the town’s walkability issue.
“From what I understand, the first group dissolved due to lack of funding. The second group had a great idea to make a trail that could be used for walking or biking outside the city limits in one big circle. They were not successful, due to an inability to achieve easements,” said Troendle.
WALK-ON WAUKON PHASE 1
Troendle said the first phase of the project, which would create a sidewalk from the four-way stop sign intersection at Jet’s Meats to the Waukon Wellness Center – via the north side of West Main Street to the east side of Thirteenth Street – was estimated by the DOT to cost about $65,000.
“This will include excavating to make sure the slope of the sidewalk is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-compliant,” she said, adding because that stretch of sidewalk goes by several businesses, it will include thicker cement in areas with vehicle entrances and exits.
Troendle explained that to pursue grant funding, her group will have to ensure the project will meet all state and federal regulations, as well as ADA compliance. The sidewalks also will be designed to allow for city crews to take care of snow removal.
“It adds expense to the project, but it will make it safe and accessible for all members of our community,” she said.
HOW TO HELP
Troendle said a mass mailing to Waukon residents and business owners last month yielded a positive response.
“We have had some businesses respond with pledged surfaces,” she said.
One 5’ x 5’ segment of sidewalk costs approximately $600, but Troendle said any level of support is greatly appreciated.
Troendle added any money raised toward Phase 1 that would exceed the amount needed, will be used toward future projects the organization would determine as being necessary and feasible. All donations are tax-deductible and can be made using the form pictured below.
For more information, or to donate, contact Troendle at 312 East Main Street, Waukon, IA 52172, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 319-361-0687. Keep up with the group on Facebook.
Source: Lissa Blake, https://waukonstandard.com, 03/28/18.