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City works toward bike map system
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MONROE - The city of Monroe Finance and Taxation Committee earlier this month denied a request by the city to use money from the contingency fund for a bike map system.

On May 2, city administration proposed a new interactive and online system of bike maps for Monroe. This included $4,800 from the city's contingency fund to pay for the online system, which includes printable PDF forms.

While the committee favored creating city bike maps, it wanted Martin Shanks, assistant city administrator, to seek funds from the Visitor and Promotion Board. Shanks said the project fits the criteria.

The Visitor and Promotion Board actively seeks to bring in revenue for the city in a "heads on beds" approach, encouraging the use of city lodging by tourists. Shanks said a complete bike map linking Monroe city bike trails to those throughout the county such as the Badger State Trail and the Cheese Country Trail would help that effort, and he has plans to apply with a proposal over the summer.

If successful, Shanks said the layout and creation stage should begin this fall.

The newly adopted Monroe Comprehensive Plan includes a number of goals related to encouraging more bicycling throughout the community.

Mapping is not complete. In 2015, the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, which created the city's comprehensive plan, tasked students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with creating maps during their fall class.

Shanks said the commission will use those proposals, as well as their own outlines, to create an online interactive mapping system for the public to access and plot out their bike trips throughout Monroe.

Once finished, the city plans to include a link to the system on its website. The interactive system will cost the city $500 to maintain annually.

Maps will also be accessible as PDFs for people to print off. The maps should connect areas of interest throughout and just outside of the city, such as restaurants, Shanks said. But they will also have "connecting routes," to make the course in and out of Monroe a smooth transition for bikers.