It almost seems like if all the people involved in making a new pedestrian, bicycle and fishing bridge connecting the Little Chute and Kaukauna trail networks happen were to link hands, they, too, could stretch 1,133 feet across the Fox River.
Work started almost three weeks ago but a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday (Aug. 18) officially announced the name of the structure as the David and Rita Nelson Family Heritage Crossing, recognizing a $650,000 challenge grant from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation.
Grants from the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, Outagamie County, Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, the National Park Service, Unison Credit Union and individual donors all are supporting the $3.5 million project in addition to funding from the two municipalities.
Little Chute Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Adam Breest said the Nelson challenge grant started it all. “Without that, we would not be here today,” he said.
The grant was one of the first from the fund created by the Nelsons’ gift of more than $100 million, recognizing the family’s stated support for waterfront projects and David having grown up in Kaukauna.
Barges from contractor Michels Corp. mark the spots where the connection will run from near Heesakker Park in Little Chute to an abandoned railroad line on the shore of the Fox on the Kaukauna side. The Nelson Crossing is expected to open next June.
Check out the comments from our president and CEO Curt Detjen:
View a slideshow about the ceremony here.
Who were the Nelsons? Learn more about the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund and find out more about this couple here.