Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau (FCCVB) Executive Director Pam Seidl spoke at the Fox Cities Greenways, Inc. annual meeting on Jan. 23 about the FCCVB's ongoing contributions to trail development throughout the Fox Cities.
The Fox Cities is home to more than 100 miles of trails, and through the FCCVB Tourism Development Grant program, the FCCVB has awarded more than $1 million to trail projects in the Fox Cities over the years.
Completed or current projects having received grant funds include:
- Pedestrian Bicycle Underpass (Hwy. 441 project)
- Pedestrian Overpass (Hwy. 41, Grand Chute)
- Riverwalk Project (Neenah)
- Fox River Mall Trail & Bridge
- Fox Cities Trestle
- “Little Trestle” (Neenah Slough)
- Loop the Lake (the remaining trestles)
- Province Terrace Trail Expansion
- Fox River Boardwalk
Fox Cities visitors indicate outdoor recreation as one of the top activities they participate in when visiting the region, and it also is one of the most highly cited drivers of tourism statewide. Trail development and enhanced outdoor recreation opportunities not only benefit visitors and drive tourism, but they simultaneously improve quality of life and recreation opportunities for locals.
"Trails open and connect our visitors to our community," Seidl said. "Visitors want to experience and get a glimpse of life as a local while visiting, and trails allow them to get out into our area ... both for exploring and relaxing."
The FCCVB awards grant funds to trail projects that meet some, or all, of the following criteria: are unique or unusual crossings that are key to the success of a particular project; are on a segment of a state trail or connects to a state trail; located near Fox Cities hotels and connects guests to attractions; provide year-round use opportunities; are unique in the state or increases accessibility of water for its users; and supplement existing financial commitments.
Since its inception in 1986, the FCCVB has awarded more than $8 million in grants through the Tourism Development Grant program. Grant values range from $1,000 to $1,000,000 in value and, in addition to trail development, have benefited arts and cultural venues and exhibits; large-scale events; sports development projects; and more.
Curt Detjen, President/CEO at the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Inc.; Sue Kinde, Founder of Fox Cities Greenways; and Walt Rugland, co-chair of Imagine Fox Cities also spoke at the annual meeting. These entities and others, along with the FCCVB, collaborate on continuing to develop a robust network of trails throughout the Fox Cities.
Banner image: Loop the Lake/Trestle Bridge | Photo credit: IG @aaroecker