News: Neillsville Improvement Corp. “Rails To Trails” (2021)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Clough, Backaus

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 6/30/2021

Neillsville Improvement Corporation “Rails To Trails” (2021)

Neillsville Lions Club representative Eric Backaus presents a $1,000 check to Neillsville Improvement
Corporation vice-president Dan Clough (left) for the Rails to Trails project. Submitted photo

The Neillsville Improvement Corporation (NIC) has recently received several grants and donations for the economic development project known as Rails to Trails. The goal of the project is to build a 13-mile, non- motorized recreational trail from Neillsville to Chili under the active power line corridor, which was formerly a rail bed. NIC acts as the fiscal agent for the project.

“The project has continued to receive outstanding community support from individuals, businesses, service organizations and foundations,” a June 16 press release from NIC stated.

In the past few months, the Clark County Community Foundation awarded a $1,000 grant, the Listeman Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant, and the Marshfield Area Community Foundation awarded $2,500 to the Rails to Trails project. Other recent donations include $1,000 from the Rosemary McBride Estate, $1,000 from Simplicity Credit Union and $1,000 from the Neillsville Lions Club. Many other companies and individuals have contributed smaller amounts. Funds for this project have been used to purchase six parcels of land and create an engineering concept plan for the Neillsville trailhead complex, which will include the Carl & Millie Opelt Playscape.

The Rails to Trails project is supported by the City of Neillsville 2013-33 Comprehensive Plan and the Clark County 2016 -21 Recreation Plan. On April 27, the Neillsville Common Council voted unanimously to partner with NIC by co-signing a Department of Natural Resources grant application for $50,000 for the Neillsville trailhead complex and recreational trail.

“If any people who own land adjacent to the proposed trail have questions or concerns about this project, we encourage them to contact NIC. This project, cannot take over private land, will not take active ag land out of production and will cause little to no impact to adjacent landowners,” the press release from NIC stated.

“Thousands of miles of trails across the state and country have shown these types of projects have very positive effects on the community with no negative effects. This is a long-term project that will take years to unfold. The Elroy-Sparta trail is 50 years old, and they are continuing to expand it because of its positive effects on the area.”

Donations can be sent to the Neillsville Improvement Corporation, 508 Hewett Street, Neillsville, WI 54456. Make checks payable to “Neillsville Improvement Corporation” and funds will be put toward Rails to Trails and the Carl & Millie Opelt Playscape. Donations can also be made through the NIC website: or through the donate button on the NIC Facebook page.

For more information, call 715-743-3440 or email



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