The Ridges Sanctuary near Baileys Harbor has been awarded a grant by the National Scenic Byways program to help in their construction of a new LEED certified interpretive center at the location of the old Sandpiper restaurant. The grant is valued at $554,900 and will pay for the construction of a handicapped accessible boardwalk, as well as exhibits at the new interpretive center and throughout The Ridges campus.
Ridges Development Director Judy Drew wrote the grant. She says the award will make the Ridges much more visible and accessible to visitors.
The handicap accessible boardwalk will connect with the Ridges existing five miles of trail loop.
Drew says the competition makes this type of Grant from the D.O.T. hard to come by, with 50% of national applications getting denied, and only one other project in Wisconsin getting approved this year.
Drew says the efforts of the Door County Coastal Byway Committee went a long way in getting this project approved. The group is made up of eight representatives from different municipalities, led by Ann Miller of Liberty Grove. Highway 42/57 received the Scenic Byways Designation in 2010. Since then Door County has been able to obtain funding for the promotion and enhancement of many areas along the Highway, as well as support for their protection and preservation.
The Ridges applied for the grant at the end of last year. The Sanctuary hopes to start construction on the building next year, but needs a little more cash flow before they get started. Work on the handicap boardwalk and the design phase for the interpretive signage should start later this year.