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Despite Elm Grove residents' concerns, Juneau Pathway approved Monday

Safety, drainage still issues

May 21, 2013

A pedestrian pathway planned for Juneau Boulevard sailed over minor speed bumps and received unanimous approval from the Public Works/Utility Committee on Monday.

The Village Board approved the committee's recommendation of an asphalt off-road pathway on the north side of Juneau Boulevard from Highland Drive to just west of the railroad tracks last May.

Concerns addressed

Residents raised concerns throughout the planning stages about safety and path placement.

At Tuesday's meeting, the committee addressed comments submitted from on-site meetings with residents conducted by Richard Paul, Jr., public works director.

Paul read a list of concerns from residents; those who attended the meeting and had submitted comments were allowed to speak.

Trustee John Meser, who heads the Public Works Committee, and Village Engineer Mike Campbell addressed each individual concern with the committee.

One such concern came from John Schaefer, who sent an email to Paul on May 14 suggesting the project include a 25-foot culvert extension to Higland Drive with storm vents.

"Elimination of a deep ditch next to the path would provide safer passage for pedestrians and would eliminate unnecessary tampering with the natural tree canopy," Schaefer wrote.

He also offered to pay to install a suggested pipe between the pathway and road's edge to eliminate the ditch, but that would bring the pathway on-road.

Impact on trees, landscaping

During the meeting, Schaefer also voiced concern for trees that would be affected near his property.

"If you put asphalt there, on top of the trees, you will ruin the roots," he said. "This is happening in my backyard."

Meser corrected Schaefer and said the trees are not on his property but adjacent to it, in the public right-of-way.

Meser also explained that restoration projects are always considered after a project where landscaping is affected, and that the committee works with homeowners to minimize the impact on trees as much as possible.

The committee decided to not change the project based on Schaefer's suggestions, citing that the changes would move the path too close to the road's edge, defeating the purpose of an off-road pathway plan and possibly compromising the safety of the path.

"Having the path off-road is safer than putting it on-road," Trustee George Haas said.

Schaefer stormed out of the meeting.

Additional concerns

Other resident concerns included mailbox reinstallations, drainage and runoff, and more concerns for tree removal/damage.

The committee approved one slight revision to the proposal: creating a berm along the back side of the pathway to help keep water runoff in the ditch and culverts and off private property.

More information on the Juneau Pathway and its plan design can be found on the villages website, elmgrovewi.org.

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