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Council keeps door open to dike road shelter, restrooms

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Hudson City Council has decided not to close the door on building a picnic shelter and restrooms at the end of the old toll bridge dike road at Lakefront Park.

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On June 7, the council instructed Mayor Dean Knudson to send a message to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources asking it to extend by a year the period the city has to use a $100,000 grant for the project.

The city was awarded the grant in 2006, but the City Council decided in early 2007 to abandon the project.

The project fell victim, at least in part, to efforts to improve it.

When the city's Daybreak and Noon Rotary clubs in early 2004 offered to donate $50,000 for the project, the plan was to build a standard picnic shelter and toilets served by a holding tank.

The city's Park Board then proposed a more expensive shelter that would be less vulnerable to vandals, as well as extending water and sewer service to the restrooms.

The cost of the project had grown to $459,600 by the time it was rejected on 4-3 vote by the council. The alderpersons divided evenly on the issue. Then Mayor Jack Breault broke the tie with his vote not to accept the low bid of $259,600 for construction of the 36- by 60-foot shelter and restrooms.

Engineering fees were expected to add $30,000 to the cost.

The low bid for extending water and sewer service a half-mile to the end of the dike road was $170,000.

Mayor Dean Knudson said that dropping the idea of extending water and sewer service to the shelter should make the project considerably less expensive.

He said it is questionable whether federal and state agencies will accept an altered project, however.

The mayor also reported that the Park Board still has $200,000 designated for the shelter and restrooms.

"What this project lacks right now is advocates. There are plenty of naysayers," Knudson said.

Alderperson Lee Wyland moved to instruct Knudson to tell the DNR to continue to hold the grant money for the shelter. Randy Morrissettee II seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with no opposition.

Alderperson Scot O'Malley noted that the council had just delayed rebuilding the intersection of Vine and Second streets for the price of $210,000.

"Two hundred fifty thousand for Vine and Second or $300,000 for a shelter at the end of the dike road, which would you rather have?" he asked.

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