According to Jackie Cody, president of the Oneida County Biking and Walking Trails Council, a new sidewalk is now available for pedestrian traffic from the Highway 17 bypass along the north side of Eisenhower Parkway to Taco Bell. The sidewalk provides those walking with safe passage in an area that previously had only a dirt path for pedestrians. The Oneida County Biking and Walking Trails Council have been focusing on developing a pedestrian walkway in that area for two years and decided this project would be a great benefit for the community. Tom Rudolph, a member of both the OCBWTC and the Lumberjack Resource Conservation and Development Council Inc., suggested that the OCBWTC submit a grant application to the Lumberjack RC&DC. That effort led to a $7,500 dollar award for the project.
Other contributions for the new sidewalk include $2,836 from the OCBWTC, $1,500 from Goodwill Industries and up to 20 percent of the construction cost from the City of Rhinelander. Ron Johnson, a traffic signal engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) North Central Region, provided plans for signal and intersection modifications at no cost to the City of Rhinelander the OCBWTC. WisDot also included additional push buttons and countdown signal heads needed to accommodate the associated pedestrian movements. Mayor Richard Johns, Public Works Director Randy Knuth and the Rhinelander City Council favored support for the new sidewalk.
The project also includes the installation of a short piece of sidewalk with a standard access ramp on the east side of the bypass that will allow for a sidewalk to easily connect and provide safe passage to the already completed Eisenhower Parkway sidewalk.
The OCBWTC is an all-volunteer, independent 501(c) (3) organization that works in cooperation with the Oneida County Health Department. The Eisenhower Parkway Sidewalk Project is part of the department’s Healthy Oneida County initiative.