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Sussex business works with village on park trail

Oct. 25, 2011

Village of Sussex - Families can take an educational and fun walk with nature thanks to a partnership in the making between local business PowerSports Network and the village.

The Village Board Tuesday night was expected to consider a proposal from PowerSports to sponsor construction of a Born Learning Trail in one of the village's parks. Parks and Recreation Director Amy Flaherty explained that United Way in Waukesha County approached the department recently with the initiative. According to bornlearning.org, the trails provide new opportunities for the United Way to connect volunteers more closely with the community and build new partnerships. Flaherty explained what the trail is.

"It would be a trail for toddlers and they would put signage in and children could learn by doing stencils on pavement," and other myriad activities Flaherty said.

Peggy Shepherd Human Resources Manager for PowerSports said the company reached out to United Way in a search for volunteer opportunities that could be done in a group setting. She said Lori Hayes with United Way in Waukesha County explained that Waukesha business Oberlin Filter recently completed in Heyer Park.

"They said they were very satisfied with it and the things it did for them as a team," Shepherd said. She said Hayes visited PowerTest and talked about the double benefit the project can provide by offering a community benefit and an outlet for a company to uniquely work as a team.

Over the winter PowerSports employees will do some of the work in the office and the plan is to construct the Born Learning Trail in the spring.

Flaherty said a park has not yet been chosen for the trail but Weyer Park near the library is being considered. "The Park Board needs to choose the park for it. Right now the park they came up with is Weyer Park but we are exploring other opportunities," she said.

Shepherd said Oberlin has offered to show PowerSports the ropes of creating a Born Learning Trail. The company has ordered the kit for the trail that cost around $2,500, but she said they received feedback from Oberlin that you can do additional things to make the trail's components last a bit longer and there are additional templates you can add, "to make it more fun. That's our plan too," Shepherd said.

PowerSports hosts websites for other sports dealers of ATVs, boats, Harley-Davidson and similar products. It was founded in Pewaukee in 1998 and moved to its Sussex North Corporate Circle location in 2007.

Shepherd said United Way in Waukesha County would like to have nine Born Learning Trails throughout the region. "We'll be number two and if all goes well, someone else will step up," she said.

Other improvements

Flaherty said the Park Board discussed ongoing park improvements at its Oct. 17 meeting. She said finishing touches such as landscaping are being put on village parks that underwent improvements this summer with just a couple things left to be done in spring. That includes a stone path in Ridgeview Park.

As far as the master plan for Village Park, Flaherty said the board decided to slow the process for plan approvals. "Concerns have come up and we want to make sure we really look at those concerns and have solutions for them. We are thinking about a brainstorming session in January," Flaherty said.

She said while it's still unsure who will participate in the brainstorming session, the meeting could produce a "drawing" of what others envision a revamped Village Park to look like. The village could hire a firm to do renderings after specific ideas were shared. However, that work isn't planned until the 2015 budget. "We'll have to put it into the capital budget," Flaherty explained.

When asked about discussion of a municipal pool in Village Park, she said for now a pool is not included in the plan. "We still have a splash pad and we do have in the plan a big open space that could be used in the future," for a swimming pool, Flaherty said.

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