Municipality and county leaders came together in Kimberly Thursday afternoon to announce a joint venture that will get the entire area moving.

The Loop the Locks project is a plan for a trail system that will run from downtown Appleton to Kaukauna and back.

In its entirety, the trail is expected to run at least 15 miles long.

The project began with $1.5 million in seed money the county acquired from the American Transmission Company.

“Whenever A.T.C. expands a transmission line through a county, they are required by state statute to make a payment for the purpose of recreation or conservation use,” Outagamie County Planning Director Kara Homan explained to Local Five.

County officials looked into what should be done with that money, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said a solution became apparent.

“By and large, the community spoke, really in one voice: we want to do a trail system,” he said.

But a trail has to go somewhere, so the county began to reach out to municipalities to see if they would be interested in being a part of the trail system.

“We can either do it by ourself and have a trail that really doesn’t go anywhere, ” Nelson explained, “or we can come together and we can create a unique trail system.”

After presenting the idea to the individual municipalities, the initial seed money began to grow, from $1.5 million to $6 million.

That money will be given to the communities for use on the individual projects that will eventually make up the Loop the Locks trail system in the form of grants.

So far projects awarded grants are as follows:

City of AppletonEllen Kort Peace Park River Trail$50,000
City of AppletonLawe Street Trestle Trail$200,000
City of AppletonTrolley Trestle Trail$300,000
City of Kaukauna/
Village of Little Chute
Fox River Boardwalk$600,000
City of KaukaunaKaukauna Downtown Trail Network$50,000
Village of KimberlyCedars of Kimberly$300,000