City decides to take grant money for Wisconsin Street projectThe city was awarded the Surface Transportation Program grant a few years ago, but last spring questioned whether it wanted the money for the Wisconsin Street project after learning about the improvements that would be required.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The Hudson City Council has decided that it does want a state grant for reconstructing Wisconsin Street between Vine and 11th streets.
The city was awarded the Surface Transportation Program grant a few years ago, but last spring questioned whether it wanted the money for the Wisconsin Street project after learning about the improvements that would be required.
Local street projects funded in part with state or federal money are now required to provide on-street bicycle lanes and separate sidewalks on both sides of the street.
The money for the Wisconsin Street project is coming from the federal government, funneled through the state Department of Transportation. The grant is supposed to provide 80 percent of the project funding, and could top $600,000.
The City Council had asked its consulting engineer to look into whether the grant could be reallocated for the reconstruction of Vine Street.
Council members felt bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides of Wisconsin Street were unnecessary, and would drive up the project cost.
But when the City Council met Nov. 12, it designated city Finance Officer Neil Soltis chairperson of a committee that will select the engineering firm to design the Wisconsin Street reconstruction.
The other committee members are Mayor Alan Burchill, City Administrator Devin Willi and Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli.
Zeuli said later that the city learned that the grant money couldn’t be transferred to another project. The city would have to cancel the Wisconsin Street grant and apply for one for Vine Street.
There’s no guarantee that the city would be awarded money for the Vine Street project, Zeuli said, and if it was, that project would likely be delayed for several more years.
City officials are already frustrated with how long it has taken to receive the funding.
“This is a long process. Holy mackerel!” Zeuli said.
The city had hoped to complete the Wisconsin Street project this year. Now, the design work won’t begin until the middle of 2013, and construction isn’t expected to start until 2015.”