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Thursday, October 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Overcast
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West-side residents concerned about plans for restaurant on Madison bike path
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Southwest bike path terminus
Southwest bike path terminus
Credit:Wisconsin DNR

When Gail Martinelli was a kid, she would often play in a patch of woods on the west side of Madison near her home.

"You could walk into that woods and get away from your parents and the noise of the city," she says. "It was all very mysterious there."

Martinelli doesn't want to see that mysterious place destroyed. She is one of several west side Madison residents who are against a proposal for a restaurant along the Southwest bike path near Glenway Golf Course.

Chris Berge, co-owner of Restaurant Magnus, the Weary Traveler, and Natt Spil, and cofounder of Barriques and The Blue Marlin, has proposed the "bike-in" bar and grill open from April through October.

Berge, who could not be reached for comment today, described the location to the Wisconsin State Journal as "the one place where you can't hear any cars in the middle of the city."

But that's exactly why some are opposed to his proposal. "It's one area in the city where you can't hear cars," says Kate Edwards, who lives on Fox Avenue and whose property backs up against the trail. "Why would you want to cut into it with sewer lines and electricity?"

After the article came out, neighborhood listservs lit up with concerns and objections. Edwards says there are plenty of commercial establishments within a few blocks of the proposed spot. "I think there are so many questions about it," she says. "If this is city property, does that mean city property is for sale?"

Edwards also thinks there are other places on the path that are more developed and would be more conducive to a commercial enterprise.

Martinelli -- whose brother Michael was for years the city's forester -- says she'd like to preserve one of the few wild places left in the city. "A restaurant would do something that would damage what I cherish."

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