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UNLOCKING FLYWAY TRAIL- BRIDGING THE BLUFFS CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIRS NAMED …PRELIMINARY WORK STARTS

NEWS RELEASE

UNLOCKING FLYWAY TRAIL – BRIDGING THE BLUFFS CAMPAIGN

CO-CHAIRS NAMED — PRELIMINARY WORK STARTS

For Immediate Release: OCTOBER 21, 20019

Contact: DAVE ADCOCK, dadcock@exchange.hbci.com

Gary Evans, Winona business and philanthropic leader and Jim Wilkie, Mayor of Alma, Wis., will spearhead the FLYWAY TRAIL – BRIDGING THE BLUFFS Capital Campaign, a $1.2M campaign for Phase I and II of a multi-purpose trail and connection to safely bridge western Wisconsin communities and Winona, Minnesota using the John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge through Aghaming Park to Buffalo Town Park.

“I am honored to be co-chairing this campaign with Jim Wilkie,” says Gary Evans. “Our beliefs in the project are parallel. Flyway Trail will provide important economic, recreational and safety opportunities for area residents and spike more visitors to our region to enjoy our unmatched beauty. A bonus for me is how committed I am to both Winona and Alma, as Alma is my hometown.”

Jim Wilkie, Mayor of Alma and Treasurer of Flyway Trail, the organization which revitalized the plan in 2014, agrees. “The economic impact of multi-purpose trails is millions annually for a region. This trail was first dreamed of in the 1970’s and brought to life by Buffalo County in the late 1990’s. With assistance from the City of Winona and many volunteers, the time is now to help make this happen with the federal and state matching money that is being offered.”

The economic benefits of similar trails are impressive.

The Sparta-Elroy Trail was the first Rails to Trails effort in the U.S. Today, this trail’s impact on the towns is huge; Sparta welcomes 15,500 visiting bicyclists each year. The Wisconsin DNR reports that 100,000 people use the trail annually.

Lanesboro, Minnesota, has had similar results. The Root River Trail, leading from Fountain City to Houston, is a 60-mile trail that has resulted in economic impact for the region. During the summer of 2009, according to the most recent report from the DNR, the path generated about $2.3M from those who used it and is cited as one of the key attractions to the area.

“There is a real urgency to raise the match through this campaign which is why preliminary construction is starting this Fall,” says David Danzinger, Buffalo County Board of Supervisors and area business owner. “We need to raise the private funding match through the Bridging the Bluffs Campaign due to the deadline for funding by March 2020 to meet the DOT’s requirements for the initial $2.1M grant. With this accomplished, the $2.9M is secured.” (A grant from Wisconsin DNR comprises the remaining approximately $800,000 of the $2.9M.)

The $1.2M campaign breaks down like this:

$600,000 for the Flyway Connector bridge. Phase I secures $2.9M in state and federal funding. Due to DOT grant requirements, initial preparatory construction has now begun off Highway 35 in Aghaming Park.

$300,000 for the 20 percent private match required toward Phase II.

$300,000 for planning, engineering and consulting costs as well as part of the 20 percent private match for the final Phase III northward to Fountain City, Cochrane, Buffalo City and Alma, Wisconsin. The trail will eventually link to Nelson, Wisconsin and Wabasha, Minnesota

The volunteers for Bridging the Bluffs Capital Campaign anticipate an exciting and fun campaign with much community involvement, and are very confident the campaign will be a success. “We are very hopeful all area residents will see the benefit of supporting an effort to build this community asset,” said Evans.

“Gary and I urge everyone who wants to connect safely to Wisconsin and the Great River Trail to become involved in this campaign,” says Wilke. “This project offers us a chance to do something very good for the future of this area. This is a long-time dream that is about to become a reality for this region. Now it is our turn to give back for future generations.”

Detailed copies of the Bridging the Bluffs case statement and FAQ are available at www.flytrail.com. Crescendo Fundraising Professionals, LLC, is managing the campaign. For information on the campaign, please contact Sonya Hansen, at 608-685-6235 or Sonya.hansen@co.buffalo.wi.us

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