Bugline Trail paving project causing controversy

WAUKESHA COUNTY --The Bugline Trail is a popular trail in Waukesha County, and it may soon be getting an upgrade. Waukesha County is considering paving the trail that runs between Appleton Avenue in Menomonee Falls and Main Street in the Village of Merton. But not everyone thinks this paving is necessary.

Paving the trail will transform the crushed limestone into pavement. "The idea of paving it came from making it usable year-round, ADA accessible and easier for us to maintain," Dave Burch with the Waukesha County Parks Department said.

The Bugline project is part of the Waukesha County Comprehensive Bike Plan, which will interconnect parks, neighborhoods and schools. "This is all tied to alternative means of transportation, not just recreation," Burch said.

The plan will cost $2.5 million. $1.6 million will be paid for by federal and state funds, and about $900,000 will be covered by Waukesha County.

Some say they're excited about the plan. "I usually use the Bugline quite a bit. It would be nice to have it paved because it makes it easier on the bikes," Menomonee Falls resident Jennifer Simpson said.

While others don't think Waukesha County dollars should be put towards this project. "I don't feel that the money that it would take should be spent right now. Like everyone else, and with the state budget and all, I think that we need to just cut back and do without," Menomonee Falls resident Carol Simpson said.

County officials say they need to take immediate action before the funding is no longer available. "The opportunity is now, because the funding and the leverage of local funding for us is now, not in the future, not 10 years from now, and we need to make the most of those opportunities," Burch said.

Currently, Waukesha County is in the design phase of the project. Construction is expected to begin next year and will be complete in 2014.

Waukesha County officials plan to hold public information meetings in late April or early May to get the public's input on concepts and designs for paving the Bugline Trail.

In case you're interested, the name for the "Bugline Trail" came from the name of the original railroad and its curving alignment known as the “Bug on a Vine” Railroad. The local citizenry later referred to the railroad as the “Bugline Railroad”. The original railroad, established in the early 1900’s by Joseph Hadfield, served the area’s limestone quarries.