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Pathways plans donation of grant money for future project

Group gathering input on improving bike paths, walkways
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Shawano Pathways plans to make a $12,000 donation to the city from grant money it has obtained to help fund an as yet undetermined project that will improve biking paths and walkways.

Shawano is among 10 communities across the country to receive assistance from the Safe Routes National Partnership to develop an action plan for improving biking and walking to local parks, green spaces and on trails.

Shawano Pathways was selected by the Safe Routes to School National Partners to join Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities, which includes a $12,000 grant and technical assistance focused on improving safe and equitable local park access.

“It fits very well with the Pathways goals,” Pathways President Nancy Brown-Koeller said during a presentation to the Shawano Common Council last week.

“The grant requires community input and coalition with the parks department and police department,” Koeller said.

“We all have a different niche in the community and we’re all using it to set our own objectives,” she said.

“The purpose is to do a small project fairly soon,” Koeller said. “We don’t know what that is. We’re going to let the input tell us. But the bigger part of the grant is to develop an action plan for something bigger. That requires working with our coalition partners, with the city and with the county.”

The group recently held three listening sessions, which drew about 30 people, according to Koeller.

Pathways has also conducted walking audits in some areas to determine where walking and biking are problematic.

One location cited by Koeller at last week’s council meeting is East Green Bay Street, where the sidewalk ends and forces people to cross ditches and cut through parking lots to get to their destination.

“There’s things we could be doing,” Koeller said. “We’re going to develop an action plan and we’ll come back and share that.”

Koeller said the end result will be a $12,000 donation to Shawano for something not yet determined.

After that, she said, there will be “a plan to do something bigger and better that the community wants.”

Shawano Pathways was selected by the Safe Routes to School National Partners to join Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities, which includes a $12,000 grant and technical assistance focused on improving safe and equitable local park access.

The data will also be used for Shawano Pathways’ strategic planning, and be shared with the city’s parks and recreation department and police department, the Shawano Common Council and Shawano County Board for their planning efforts.

With funding from The JPB Foundation, Safe Routes to Parks supports collaboration among community partners to ensure that children and adults can easily and safely walk, bike or roll to local parks and green spaces.

The JPB Foundation is a private foundation which directs its giving promoting opportunities for people in poverty, advancing medical research, and enabling a healthy environment.

Shawano will be among 10 communities across the country to receive training and coaching from the safe routes partnership to develop an action plan for improving active travel to local parks and green spaces and implement early actions from the plan.