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Ceremony To Mark Expansion Of Hank Aaron State Trail

August 8, 2006

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – The public will have an opportunity to join Home Run King Hank Aaron on Saturday, Aug. 12, to celebrate the completion of another section of the State Trail that bears his name. The Hank Aaron State Trail has now been completed from Lakeshore State Park on Lake Michigan to Miller Park Stadium. The trail includes a newly completed paved section of off-street trail between Miller Park and Sixth Street and marked bike lanes on city streets from there to Lakeshore State Park.

The trail provides a key link through the heart of Milwaukee, from Lakeshore State Park through the Historic Third Ward, and into the Menomonee Valley – the historic core of industry in the Milwaukee area. Along the way, hikers and bikers using the trail pass the Milwaukee Art Museum, Potawatomi Bingo, the Marquette Soccer Fields, and Miller Park Stadium-- home to the Milwaukee Brewers.

With the recent acquisition of a 5.5-mile corridor from Miller Park west to the county line, the state Department of Natural Resources is hoping to nearly double the length of the trail by 2009. That extension would continue the trail west from the stadium past the historic Ward Theatre on the grounds of the National Soldiers Home, through State Fair Park, past the Pettit National Ice Center, along the southern edge of the Milwaukee County Zoo, to its connection with the Oak Leaf Trail near the Milwaukee-Waukesha county line.

“Based on 2000 census data, there are an estimated 415,616 people living within a 15-minute bike ride of the Hank Aaron State Trail and proposed extension,” notes Melissa Cook, Hank Aaron State Trail manager. “No other trail in the state has as many potential users in such close proximity. The trail also presents an opportunity to link residential neighborhoods to employment opportunities and recreational destinations and to make bicycle commuting a more attractive alternative.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new trail section begins at 10:30 a.m. where the trail meets the east parking lot of Miller Park Stadium. The ceremony will be preceded by the annual Hank Aaron State Trail 5K Run/Walk, which is a benefit for the trail’s Friends Group. The run/walk starts at Miller Park, winds its way down Canal Street, and finishes along the trail just across the river from the starting line. It begins at 8:30 a.m., with registration from 7 to 8:15 a.m.

The walk/run and ribbon cutting ceremony will be followed by a “Gland Slam Festival” with music, ethnic dancers, skateboard demonstrations, children’s activities and food. The Grand Slam Event is free and open to the public, with food items available for under $5, of which a portion will go to the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail. More info is available on the Internet at: <http://www.hankaaronstatetrail.org> (exit DNR).

In addition to Hank Aaron, Gov. Jim Doyle and a number of prominent local, county and state officials have been invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Aaron played baseball for the Milwaukee Braves and Milwaukee Brewers and retired as the all-time home run champion with 755 home runs and more major league batting records than anyone else in history. He hit between 24 and 45 home runs for 19 straight seasons, averaging 33 from 1955 through 1973.

The Hank Aaron State Trail has been acquired and developed through the use of more than $1 million in Knowles-Nelson Stewardship funds and $4.5 million in state Department of Transportation Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grants.

The Hank Aaron State Trail was dedicated in his name in 2000, and has been designated as Wisconsin’s Millennium Legacy Trail by the White House Millennium Council. One Legacy Trail is named in each state to represent the essence and spirit of each of the 50 states. The Hank Aaron State Trail was selected as Wisconsin's representative because of its respectful celebration of the past, its connection to the community, and its far reaching vision for the future.

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