On June 23, the Cities of Menasha and Neenah will celebrate the grand opening of the Loop the Lake project, an initiative which will connect the trail networks between the two communities.
Construction for Loop the Lake started in October 2017 on two bridges that connect the City of Menasha and Doty Island in Neenah to the Trestle Trail between Arrowhead Park in Neenah, Fritse Park in Fox Crossing, and the Menasha Locks in a 5K loop.
Fundraising and planning developed in a joint effort between Neenah and Menasha, who have been planning the project since 2014. Menasha, Neenah and the community worked together to raise the $3.4 million funding goal, with $1.6 million coming from state grants and $1.075 million coming from private funds Future Neenah raised. Amy Barker, Future Neenah executive director, says the support of more than 350 donors was instrumental in the project’s development.
“I think it is safe to say that neither municipality would have moved forward with this project without a significant portion of the funds coming from donations and grants,” Barker says. “Only a small percentage of funds are coming from city tax dollars which is a significant benefit to Neenah and Menasha municipal budgets.”
Barker says the the trail will not only connect Neenah and Menasha’s trails together, making them easier to navigate, but also expand on-foot access to many of the local businesses surrounding the trail, as well as provide a symbolic solidarity between the communities.
“When you look at the over 100-year history of competitiveness between our two communities you realize how significant this truly is to build bridges, both literally and figuratively, connecting our communities,” Barker says. “I believe we truly work better together as we can accomplish more impactful goals for our area.”
The opening ceremony begins at 9 a.m. on June 23, and the Community First Cut & Run 5K fun run/walk around the loop will follow at 9:30 a.m. For more details about the event and how to register, visit neenah.org/cut-and-run.