The city of Viroqua continues its discussion of a comprehensive plan of park and recreation offerings and park development at Rock Avenue.

The Park and Rec and Public Property committees had a joint meeting July 18. Some members of the Historic Preservation Commission attended.

Dave Boniface with the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission said if the city wants to apply for Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grants, it needs to have a comprehensive park and recreation plan.

Boniface said Vernon County is a member of the commission, so his services to the city are free.

Boniface said he has looked at the previous plan from 2007-2011 and has begun updating data. The plan, he said, itemizes outdoor recreation facilities and programs. “The committee helps with that information.”

Boniface said if the city would want a trail, the commission could help with the plan and make a recommendation, but couldn’t do the engineering. “We are not an engineering firm.”

Boniface said the comprehensive plan “isn’t a complicated process – it goes fast. As a committee you meet and have to approve it before it goes on.”

Boniface said the comprehensive plan includes a 10- to 15-page Action Development Program, which lists what the city wants to do to improve recreation offerings.

“It’s a wish list what the city would like to do in the future – it’s an itemized list,” he said.

Boniface said recreation facilities, even if they aren’t city owned, such as the Viroqua Community Arena or a playground like the one at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School, should be included in the comprehensive plan’s list of recreation opportunities.

“The Action Program is the biggest thing,” Boniface said.

The Park and Rec and Public Property committees also discussed park development at Rock Avenue.

Terry Noble, chairperson of the Park and Rec Committee, said he envisions connecting Rock Avenue, which includes the bathhouse of the former outdoor pool, with the Park Bowl and Eckhart Park. “We need to connect our assets.”

Discussion centered on contacting the county regarding its GIS mapping efforts to get a close up of the areas of Rock Avenue, the Park Bowl and Eckhart Park to see the various elevations.

“We need a working session to draw on a big rendering to ask, ‘What are we doing?’... (in order) to have an idea of what we are thinking,” Noble said.

“Personally I’m not looking at just that corner – I see trails from Jefferson to Eckhart Park … and an overlook at the end of Jefferson,” he said.

Noble said the first step would be to have a working group start looking at a map to see how the areas could be connected and give that to an architect so he or she has an idea of what the city wants.

“I see the first session as what we are thinking to see if we are on the same page and the second session to look at CAD drawings,” he said.

Noble suggested having a working session once a month.

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