Dodge County gets nearly $1.1M grant for Gold Star Memorial Trail project

HORICON, Wis. — Dodge County has received a grant of nearly $1.1 million to help develop a phase of a trail honoring Wisconsin’s fallen military service members.

The county received a $1,092,344 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program to design and develop the second phase of the five-phase Gold Star Memorial Trail project, WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson formally announced Monday.

Phase two of the trail will run along State Highway 33, connecting Horicon to the Wild Goose State Trail. The grant will cover the majority of the estimated $1.4 million construction cost.

“Trails like this do so much to enhance a community on top of all the other transportation modes out there,” Thompson said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “It connects communities, it allows for biking and walking and all of the different activities – active transportation that can connect these areas.”

Planning for the Gold Star Memorial Trail first began nearly a decade ago, said Bill Ehlenbeck, Dodge County’s land resources and parks director. Phases one and four opened in 2018.

Design and engineering work for the second phase is set to begin “soon,” with construction happening in 2024. Finishing phase two clears the way to move on to phase three — the longest of the five — which will extend to Beaver Dam, he added.

Once complete, the trail will connect Beaver Dam to Mayville. According to the county’s website for the project, the goal is to have the full trail completed by 2027.