One more reason Sheboygan County is friendly

THERE ARE A LOT of adjectives that people use to describe Sheboygan County.

One that’s used frequently is “friendly” — as in “family friendly,” “visitor friendly,” “business friendly” and many more.

Now that list has added another accolade — “runner friendly.”

As in the recent designation by The Road Runners Club of America of Sheboygan County as a “Runner Friendly Community.”

As with so many of those positive adjectives, this latest “friendly” designation is the result of a lot of effort by a lot of different people, groups and agencies working together long and hard to make Sheboygan County a great place to live.

The RRCA designation was spearheaded by Donn Wendlandt, Sheboygan County YMCA CEO, and Roy Pirrung, Sheboygan Striders founding member and long-time president – and also a familiar figure for years running along Sheboygan County roads and trails and in a wide variety of running events.

Their application was supported by a number of leaders, individuals and groups who have strongly supported and enhanced running and walking throughout the county. They included Sheboygan Mayor Michael Vandersteen, Sheboygan County Administrator Adam Payne, Sheboygan County Director of Planning and Conservation Aaron Brault, Sheboygan Police Chief Christopher Domagalski and more.

It was just over 10 years ago that the county received a four year, $25 million federal Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program grant to enhance infrastructure and programs promoting walking, running and other non-motorized forms of transportation throughout the county.

The county did a good job of making that money go far – though not by motorized vehicle.

It enhanced existing trails, like the venerable and spectacular Old Plank Road Trail. It helped add many other pieces and links to the existing trail system from one end of the county to the other. It paid for paved and marked bicycle lanes on county roads and city streets. It provided the funds for sidewalks that allow pedestrians to get around communities throughout the county quicker and easier. It financed the construction of great new trails in the county, most specifically the Shoreland 400 Rail Trail in the city of Sheboygan on the former Union Pacific Railroad corridor through the heart of the city.

With all of that added to existing trails like the Ice Age Trail through the heart of the Kettle Moraine in western Sheboygan County, it’s no wonder that Sheboygan County won the designation as a “Runner Friendly Community.”

Such facilities and programs enhance the county in innumerable ways.

They make those who take advantage of them – and more and more people are – healthier, stronger and happier. They bring more visitors to the county. They bring all who use them closer to the natural beauty and the attractions that make Sheboygan County one of a kind.

All together, it makes Sheboygan County even more friendly, in so many ways.

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