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Native American burial ground found during Lakeshore trail construction

Local News

NEENAH, Wis.(WFRV)- On Wednesday archeologists continued to comb through a dirt road along Lakeshore Drive in Neenah after construction crew working on the “Lakeshore Trail” project found remains connected to a sacred Native American burial ground.

Other items that could date back over a century have also been found. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee archeologists were contacted to assist.

“We knew there might be some artifacts there,” says Dean Kaufert, mayor of Neenah.

The construction of the Lakeshore began in April, and was tied up in litigation after some residents sued to stop the project from happening.

“The Honorable Judge Karen Seifert issued her ruling in the Ullrich v. City of Neenah case regarding the City’s plan to build an off-street trail along Lakeshore Avenue.  In her ruling, she stated that the City acted within its jurisdiction in adopting the off-street trail. As a result of this ruling, the City may proceed with the project as planned for Lakeshore Avenue,” says Kaufert.

Joe Bachman is a homeowner who thinks that the land that is under construction should be preserved and thinks that the city is overstepping.

“It’s not a good idea and it’s worse without proper planning,” says Bachman. He adds that he had grown up along Lakeshore Drive and in fact planted some of the trees that line the shore, some of which the city says that they will remove for a new pathway. “This area is very important environmentally. Paving this area, in the city’s own plans is against that plan. Not only are they removing trees, some of which are healthy, have bad effects for the environment.”

Mayor Kaufert says that only two healthy trees are being removed for this project, any others reportedly have a disease.

For the time being, construction has been shut down, as the archeologists work through the area. It is unclear when construction will resume. The project could be headed back to court, which could extend the shut down.

The area that the Native American burial ground is located will be preserved and untouched by construction of the “Lakeshore Trail.”

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