Oregon is one of many communities across Dane County still recovering from last year’s flooding, and nowhere is that more apparent here than the Rotary Bike Trail, which has a large portion that is submerged and unrecoverable. A permanent fix is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On Monday, June 3, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced a new $1 million Park and Trail Flood Repair Grant would assist with such recovery efforts.
The fund was created in the 2019 county budget to help communities recoup flood damage costs from recent flooding, “especially the flooding that occurred last August and September,” he wrote in a county news release.
“From Black Earth to Belleville, August’s flash flooding ruined not only homes and roads, but also the places where neighborhoods and families recreate and rely upon for the quality of life Dane County is proud to offer,” Parisi said. “Our Dane County parks and trails are essential for maintaining a good quality of life … This grant will help ensure the outdoor recreation destinations Dane County residents visited before last year’s flooding can be restored for continued safety and enjoyment.”
Oregon was hit hard by last year’s 48 inches of rain – a more than 50 percent increase from the 31-inch average.
Now, parts of the 3.1-mile, 3-year-old Rotary Bike Trail have been closed for most of the past two years because of flooding. The trail – part of a plan to connect Oregon to other regional trails and eventually up to Madison – took five years to plan and cost $889,000 to build, and the village has $300,000 earmarked for repairing the trail this year.
That could include purchasing more land to relocate the boardwalk to a less vulnerable area, something that was a subject of a closed session at Monday’s Oregon Village Board meeting.
In February, the Village Board voted to pay infrastructure management firm Ruekert Mielke up to $5,000 to prepare applications for grants to fund repairs of flooded-out portions of the trail. At the time, public works director Jeff Rau told the Observer village officials re looking for long-term and short-term solutions, including moving the path to higher ground by buying land or acquiring easements.
“Nobody is happy that the path is flooded and essentially unusable as a through trail,” he said then.
Dane County Park and Trail Flood Repair Grant submissions are due July 31, 2019 and should include four items: a project narrative describing the scope and extent of flood damage, project map(s) that identify the damaged facilities, a site plan or design and engineering plans for necessary repairs, and a project budget with itemized lists of repair costs, funding commitments and county assistance requested.
Priority for funding will be given to projects identified in the Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan or that have previously received financial assistance from the county, according to the news release.
People can email submissions and follow-up questions to Dane County Land and Water Resources Department Park Property Planner Sara Rigelman at email@example.com or call her at 224-3611.