The dollars Dane County is spending on clean lakes, parks for people to play, and trails to recreate total $33.6 million in 2020—a true commitment to a quality of life that keeps communities vibrant and growing.
The first phase of Suck the Muck is complete, extracting 75,000 pounds of phosphorus from one of the key waterways feeding the Yahara Lakes (Dorn Creek). The next chapter of Dane County’s work is just now getting underway in Token Creek where phosphorus soaked sludge is seven feet deep in some spots. It is estimated there are 20,000 tons (enough to fill 1,500 dump trucks) of muck over a one-mile stretch of Token Creek. Removing it will stop the ongoing seepage of phosphorus into Cherokee Marsh, Lake Mendota, and beyond.
Next year’s work will focus on Six Mile Creek between Waunakee and Westport. The 2020 budget has $2.5 million for the next chapters of “Suck the Muck.”
$4 million is being included for the Dane County Conservation Fund to continue the pursuit of preserving land with clear quality of life, conservation, and recreational benefits. This need is even more apparent by the county’s continually increasing and competing land use pressures.
County Executive Parisi is including $300,000 to complete construction of phase one of the North Mendota Bike Trail. This section will run from Woodland Drive to Governor Nelson State Park as part of a partnership. The county’s total investment into the first phase of this project is $1.3 million with what’s included in this budget.
The 2020 budget has a new $50,000 bicycle crossing safety program to put up additional signage countywide and install more safe crossing systems with warning lights.
$250,000 is being included for the next section of work planned to resurface and improve the Capital City Trail and $600,000 is being allocated to construct a new dog park at Anderson Farm County Park in the Town of Oregon.
Last year, County Executive Parisi announced a multi-year program to create accessible shoreline fishing at county parks. This project set out to make sure everyone had the opportunity to enjoy an evening by the water, creating a number of fishing piers that are fully ADA compliant. The first work as part of this is happening at Salmo Pond, Babcock, and Lussier County Parks. This budget doubles the funding to this effort next year ($200,000 in capital budget) so Dane County can continue its push to increase access to all the incredible outdoor resources the county offers.
The 2020 budget includes $300,000 for the restoration of Badger Mill Creek in the City of Verona. This work will include habitat restoration in the area of the Ice Age Trail.
A new Assistant Parks Director position will be added in 2020 to help oversee Dane County’s growing network of 16 recreational county parks, 16 wildlife areas, and 14 natural resource areas.
$130,000 is being added to replace the roof of the Heritage Center, allowing for the installation of solar panels there and $240,000 for a new forestry management truck to help clear downed trees and improve the county’s response to storm damage affecting our parks and trails.