How it All Began
The Greenways Committee, which had been championed by Ron VanderVelden (Kaukauna environmental teacher and supervisor for the Outagamie County Board), impacted the trail and greenway system in the Fox Cities region by communicating, coordinating, and encouraging trail linkages with state and local governments.
The community support and funding for trails increased and the jump-start excitement offered by the CE Trail led to further trail expansion. This along with the steady work by the county park, planning and highway departments, other committees, and support from citizens highlighted the need for a nonprofit that could consistently advocate and foster trail development in the Fox Cities.
“Area residents seized the brief opportunity to ride bikes, in-line-skate,
and enjoy a hike on the newly constructed Hwy 441 prior to its opening to vehicular traffic.
This event prompted citizens, municipalities and counties to begin addressing
the need for urban trails and greenways in the summer of 1993.”
-Appleton Post Crescent, 1993
A Greenway is Born
On June 8 of 1994, Fox Cities Greenways met for the first time. Val Wylie, Jim Duncan and Sue Kinde were instrumental in the formation of Fox Cities Greenways Inc. (FCGI). They saw the need for a regional non-profit which could advocate and coordinate trail development. Sue Kinde, who was the Natural Resources Committee Chairperson for League of Women Voters, brought vision and the capacity for doing the time consuming work required in establishing Fox Cities Greenway as a 501c3 nonprofit. Her positive energy, enthusiasm, and gift for bringing people together to accomplish impressive goals gave life to the program.
Val Wylie, Executive Director of the Fox Cities Visitors Bureau, and her organization provided start-up support for establishing Fox Cities Greenways as a nonprofit. Jim Duncan, FCGIs’ first president, who had traveled widely cross-country by bike, advocated on behalf of development of greenways and trails in the Fox Cities. FCGI would facilitate the development and linking of area trails through fundraising, fostering public support and efforts to educate officials on the benefits of trails.
The Board Behind the Vision
Fox Cities Greenways, Inc. incorporated January 23, 1995 and is funded by annual membership dues, grants, and donations. Its mission is to foster the development and preservations of trails and greenways in the greater Fox Cities region of Wisconsin. FCGI would partner, share resources and information, and facilitate planner meetings with municipalities developing trails and greenspaces. The initial diverse member board of directors included James Duncan (President), Sue Kinde (Vice-President), Vickie Milde (Secretary) Teri Marx (Treasurer), Frank Church, John Jerow, Kurt Barnes, Ron VanderVelden, Bob Stadel, Linda Stoll, Fred Scharnke, among others. Initially, according to Sue Kinde, past president, “This group thought they would be the ones with the shovels and wheelbarrows building the trails. We learned what was really needed were people to advocate for the trails, push hard when necessary, and keep at it until the trails were built.”
Fox Cities Greenways Inc. may have as many as 13 Board of Directors who serve a maximum of two consecutive three year terms. FCGI currently has 9 Board of Directors from communities throughout the Fox Cities region. Typically, the Board of Directors come from diverse backgrounds including community officials, recreation enthusiasts, trail users, and others interested in connecting and preserving recreational resources in the Fox Cities region.
Fox Cities Greenways Inc. continues to promote recreational trails in the greater Fox Cities region. It supports local and state government by encouraging the linkages of trails and greenways and endorses the strong economic advantages of having greenspaces and sustainable trails. Moreover, FCGI encourages health/wellness and outdoor activities in our community, provides restricted funds for specific trail and greenways, and believes in building upon our current infrastructure for the benefit of future generations.
The Current Board
The current Greenways Board consists of 13 talented and passionate individuals. All bring a unique area of knowledge and live in a different municipality within the Fox Cities. The Board members are: Dave Martin (President), Gwen Sargeant (Vice President), Bob Jakel (Treasurer), Andrea Peterson (Secretary), Michelle Bachaus, Kim Biedermann, Adam Breest, Holly Femal, Dennis Kittel, Tom Lhost, Joe Martin, James Merten, and Leah Schapiro.