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Artistic rendering of the new Green Circle Trail spur. (Courtesy city of Stevens Point)

Finance Committee to consider additional $76K cost for Plover River Crossing

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By Brandi Makuski

STEVENS POINT — City leaders this week will consider a “fee amendment” to complete the Plover River Crossing Trail.

The project needs up to an additional $76,000 for additional engineering work and on-site construction management not included in Rettler Corporation’s original $183,200 bid.

According to city records, the original contract with Rettler covers conceptual, preliminary, and final design work, plus bidding and construction oversight.

The project was first identified in the 2014 Portage Co. Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and is included in the city’s Outdoor Recreation Plan. It’s a one-third-mile offshoot of the Green Circle Trail, crossing two private property parcels in the town of Hull. The route provides a safe, alternative option for pedestrians and bicyclists who want to avoid the busy Hwy. 10 corridor.

The Trail consists of an asphalt and boardwalk path featuring a bridge over the Plover River, linking Hofmeister Dr. to Ben’s Ln., and Rodgers Park and the Green Circle Trail to Peters Family Park.

Initially conceptualized in January 2020, the project received City Council approval for property purchases and various design stages, funded through the city’s operational budget.

In 2022, Stevens Point secured a $1.47 million grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to cover 80 percent of the estimated $2 million construction costs. Mayor Mike Wiza announced the award, which requires the city to provide a 20 percent match. The Friends of the Plover River Crossing Trail successfully raised the remaining $396,000 required for the local match.

In December 2023, the Friends of the Plover River Crossing Trail and the Rotary Club of Greater Portage County announced they had secured a $4,800 grant from Athletic Brewing Co., a California-based brewer known for supporting nature conservation programs. The funds will help restore a one-acre field bordering the trail to native prairie, improving the habitat for pollinator species, birds, and other wildlife.

But Rettler notified the city last month that additional engineering work, including “extensive labor for a retaining wall,” was needed. The city negotiated the fee with Rettler, bringing the cost down by about $90,000, according to city records.

In a memo to the Committee, City Treasurer Corey Ladick said the additional funding will be sourced from the 2024-25 borrowing, but approving the fee is “crucial” for the project to proceed in line with the TAP Grant schedule.

It will be up to the Finance Committee to approve the fee increase on July 8. The Committee meets at 6:40 p.m. on Monday in the Community Room of the Stevens Point Police Department, 933 Michigan Ave. The public is welcome to attend.