A $906,000 grant enables Sister Bay to build a pedestrian and cycling trail along State 57

The trail will connect walkers and bikers to a children's center and is on an accident-prone section of a growing residential area

Christopher Clough
Green Bay Press-Gazette

SISTER BAY - By this time next year, pedestrians and cyclists may not need to use the roadway when trying to negotiate an increasingly busy stretch of State 57 in the Village of Sister Bay.

That's because the village recently learned it was awarded a $906,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for an asphalt trail that for walkers and bicyclists will link downtown to a growing residential area and the Northern Door Children's Center.

The Village of Sister Bay received a $906,000 grant to build this planned 4,500-foot pedestrian and bicycling trail along the west side of State 57, a stretch with no sidewalks where 12 accidents have happened in 20 years. The village hopes the trail will open in May of 2025.

The trail will be 10 feet wide and run for 4,500 feet along the west side of 57 south of its intersection with State 42, from Gateway Drive (just south of the 42-57 junction) to Northwoods Drive. It will provide direct access to the children's center and pass by the south end of Country Walk Drive, with the businesses of Country Walk Shops on the other end of that road, and several apartment complexes.

Currently, those on foot or bike who want to traverse that stretch of 57 have to use the shoulder of the highway, and it's been an accident-prone stretch. According to the village, 12 accidents have happened between on 57 Gateway Drive and Northwoods Drive in the last 20 years, including a 2022 pedestrian accident that was the most recent to result in serious injuries.

Sister Bay officials began discussion of a pedestrian/bike trail along this route more than 20 years ago but weren't able to raise the resources needed to make it happen, a press release from the village said. The trail moved closer to reality when Door County Medical Center contributed funds toward the cost of designing the trail last year, and Sturgeon Bay-based civil engineering firm Stantec came up with the design.

Work on the trail is planned to start in spring of 2025, and village administrator Julie Schmelzer said the village hopes the trail will be ready to open in May.

This is one of a number of trail projects that have been discussed or proposed in Northern Door County. Several communities and interested parties are working together on the Egg Harbor Trails Initiative, a proposed trail system that would provide safer off-road pedestrian and biking pathways from south of Egg Harbor to downtown Egg Harbor, Fish Creek (including Peninsula State Park and Gibraltar School), Ephraim and Sister Bay. The ultimate goal is to link the network to the Ahnapee Trail in Sturgeon Bay, which runs to Kewaunee County.

Contact Christopher Clough at 920-562-8900 or cclough@gannett.com.

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