On August 8th, Delores S. of the "Snowbugs" snowmobile club and myself met with Waukesha County Executive, Dan Vrakas and Dale Shavers, Director of Waukesha County Dept. of Parks and Land use.
The purpose of the meeting was to turn over the petition which states:
"By signing this petition, we oppose the proposed plan advanced by the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors to pave the Bugline trail. We oppose spending taxpayer dollars for this project. We further oppose the project because paving the Bugline Trail would destroy the trail's natural beauty."
The petition contained just shy of 1,000 signatures. A lot of work went into obtaining those signatures and I know we could have gotten many more signatures had we known earlier about this project. We asked why the taxpayers of Waukesha County were not informed of this project before it was voted on since it has hit nearly all of the residents we have come in contact with by total shock and surprise?
Mr. Shavers stated that anyone who wishes to may attend the budget meetings that are held by the county supervisors. We asked how one would know that an issue such as the Bugline Trail would be voted on at one of these budget meetings and he said there is no way for the board to inform the public of what would be discussed. Very disheartening, I think. I don't know about most of you, but I suspect, like me, you have jobs to go to and cannot possibly attend every county budget meeting to find out what will be happening to your neighborhood.
When we voiced our concerns about the impact paving would have on the Bugline Trail, Mr. Shavers had answers that he felt appeased our concerns, such as:
- He stated he has medical evidence that running on pavement is not harder on the body than running on crushed limestone, as long as you wear the correct shoes.
- He further stated that bike riders who want to go fast will not use the Bugline because of the hikers and dog walkers. Those of us who actually use the trail know better and I have to wonder, if the Parks Dept. is not concerned about excessive speeds, why are they telling us they will post speed limit signs?
We are being told that the Parks Dept. is planning on keeping a strip of gravel alongside the pavement for the snowmobilers, runners, dog walkers, horseback riders and hikers. Oh, but we were assured by Mr. Vrakas and Mr. Shavers that they are working very hard to make the trail work for all users. Something is wrong with this picture, isn't it? At the end of our meeting I simply stated that our petition represents nearly 1,000 voices of taxpayers who took the time to fill out the petition to say: "WE DO NOT WANT THIS PROJECT!" and that I hope our duly elected officials will listen. Mr. Vrakas and Mr. Shavers assured me that they are listening. What do you think? Please let them know!
As a footnote: There will be an "informational meeting" on the Bugline Project this Wed., Aug. 29th 5-7pm at the Pauline Haas Public Library in Sussex.