Ridge Runners looking at ATV/UTV routes within city of Prairie du Chien

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By Correne Martin

The Crawford County Ridge Runners Club approached the Prairie du Chien Common Council Tuesday night to revisit conversations, that have happened at the public works committee level since last fall, regarding the opening of some or all city streets as ATV/UTV routes.

Club President John Udelhoven and Vice President John Shimpach, along with about half a dozen supporters, attended the meeting to present proposed routes within the city for approval. Though the city took no action Tuesday, a city public hearing is on the horizon after the public works committee meets with the club again June 4, to solidify specific roadway route proposals. Then after listening to community members at the hearing, the council can make a decision. 

Shimpach told the council, of the 11 townships and 10 municipalities in Crawford County, only the city of Prairie du Chien and township of Haney have yet to approve ATV/UTV routes within their borders. 

Mayor Dave Hemmer recalled a meeting last fall with the club, when Vineyard Road was discussed as a possible route entering the south end of Prairie du Chien, 15th Street toward the business district, and County K from the north as a potential route to the parking lot behind Stark’s Sport Shop for downtown business access. Udelhoven informed the council the Highway 35 truck route has been considered as a possible option as well.

However, as City Attorney Lara Czajkowski Higgins advised, the club’s exact requested routes seemed unsettled and need to be determined specifically so the city can properly advertise the public hearing and take action on whether or not to approve some or all requests. 

Several council members had questions for the club. Karen Solomon asked about speeds and was assured that speed limits would be posted at 25 and 35 mph. 

“They’re going to drive that, so they won’t hold up traffic,” Shimpach explained. 

The two club leaders shared that ATV and UTV drivers would need to be 16, also have taken a safety course and hold insurance. Currently, Shimpach stated, the county has set “no driving hours” from 1 to 5 a.m. 

“Our main object is to get access to the motels, filling stations and a few eating places,” he added. 

As the public works committee continues its discussion on this matter June 4, and certainly at the public hearing, further rules regarding open intoxicants and other potential regulations will be identified for the purpose of writing an ordinance for council consideration. 

Date and time of the public hearing will be announced in a future issue. Anyone with questions or concerns may contact the club (Udelhoven, 391-2350, or Shimpach, 391-1253) or city hall at 326-6406.

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