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Rotary clubs commit to raising $125,000 for riverwalk parks

May 18, 2011

Mequon - The two Mequon and Thiensville Rotary clubs have made a commitment to raise $125,000, half of the matching funds necessary to meet the requirements for a $250,000 Department of Natural Resources grant for park development.

Roger Kirgues, who along with Chris Frommell, chairs the Rotary Riverwalk project, updated the Common Council last week.

"Our goal is to raise the full $250,000 if we can," Kirgues said.

The Thiensville-Mequon Rotary Club and the Mequon-Thiensville Sunrise Rotary Club took on the planning, development, engineering, fundraising and building of the riverwalk as their centennial project in 2004. Some sections of the walk have been completed. It will stretch along the river from Village Park in Thiensville to new park space in Mequon at the intersection of Cedarburg and Mequon roads, providing necessary easements from private property owners along the way can be gained.

Kirgues said the clubs are now focusing on the so-called Riverfront Park in Mequon, two areas of green space divided by four private homes. The northern portion of the area is Settlers Park; the southern part is city-owned land that has been cleared of the buildings that once were on the site.

The Settlers Park area would have a pavilion and a boardwalk along the river that would connect to an existing section of the Rotary Riverwalk. Another boardwalk would be built in the south park area.

The council has discussed plans for the park in recent years. The city would likely phase in park development due to its cost, estimated at $2 million in 2009.

Alderman Ken Zganjar urged residents to support the various fundraising events sponsored by the clubs.

Kirgues said the club plans to plant 1,000 redbud trees in the Town Center and along the riverwalk.

The Mequon-Thiensville Sunrise Rotary Club did the initial planting of 100 redbud trees along the Rotary Riverwalk in Thiensville last weekend.

Kirgues said the fundraising plan would likely include opportunities such as naming rights or buying a redbud tree.

The clubs hope to have fundraising under way by September.

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