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Houlton company will build Weitkamp Park pavilion

Braden Construction of Houlton has won the contract to build a 2,500-square-foot picnic pavilion with restrooms in Weitkamp Park. Elliot Architects of Hudson designed the structure. Rendering by Elliot Architects1 / 2
A newly refurbished sign on Coulee Road at 11th Street directs motorists to downtown Hudson, where tourism information is available at the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau office and at Abigail Page antique mall. Photo by Randy Hanson2 / 2

A local company has won the contract to construct a picnic pavilion with restrooms in Weitkamp Park.

The Hudson City Council on July 6 accepted the bid from Braden Construction of Houlton to build the facility for $288,302.

The price includes five upgrades to the base project, which would have cost $252,450.

The upgrades are:

  • A metal roof instead of asphalt shingles, $19,265;
  • Insulated concrete masonry blocks, $1,970;
  • Cedar boards in places instead of cement, $4,245;
  • Stainless steel restroom fixtures instead of porcelain, $7,452; and
  • Natural stone veneer instead of manufactured stone, $2,920.

    Tom Zeuli, director of the Public Works and Parks Department, said Monday that a contract agreement is being drafted and construction should start soon after it is signed.

    Braden was the only bidder on the project, but Zeuli was confident that the city got a competitive price.

    The city's budget for the project is $300,000. The funding will come from impact fees dedicated for park development on the south side of Interstate 94.

    Zueli said that between six or eight contractors picked up bidding documents on the project. He said he didn't know why more bids weren't submitted.

    "They're a local company that does a lot of these. And they have good reviews, so we're happy with that," Zeuli said of Braden Construction.

    The bidding form returned by the company lists Rick Vezina as the on-site project manager and Aaron Larson as the superintendent.

    The 2,500-square-foot structure was designed by Elliot Architects of Hudson.

    The building will have limestone veneer pillars and walls and heavy-timber columns and beams.

    The open-sided picnic shelter will be 36 by 56 feet in size (2,016 square feet). An enclosed portion of the building 22 by 22 feet in size (484 square feet) will house the men's and women's restrooms and a storage room.

    The color of the pavilion will match the limestone exterior of the nearby city water utility building.

    The 20-acre Weitkamp Park is Hudson's newest park. It is located on O'Neil Road north of Hanley Road, near the Red Cedar Canyon residential development and St. Croix Business Park.

    Directional signs

    Also at its July 6 meeting, the council voted to seek bids from sign companies on adding lettering to Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau directional signs that were recently refurbished.

    Mayor Dean Knudson explained that the Tourism Bureau applied for and received a state Department of Tourism grant to update six existing signs that point motorists to various attractions in the city.

    The state provided the money as compensation for closing the travel information center next to Interstate 94. Its purpose for the signs is to direct traffic to the Chamber office at Second and Walnut streets, which now distributes local, regional and state tourism information.

    Tourism information is available in the vestibule one door north of the Chamber office at all hours seven days a week. The Abigail Page antique mall across the street also has tourism literature.

    The state would provide funding only for directing motorists to the tourism information. It said the city could add lettering directing visitors to other attractions, but at its own expense.

    Lebo Sign Works of Hudson, which the Chamber hired to refurbish the signs, offered to add the city's directional information for approximately $2,400.

    The city's procurement policy required that it obtain a quote from another sign company, too.

    Sign Me Up of Wisconsin quoted a price of $1,380 for the additional lettering.

    The company's Hudson office is operated by Paul Radermacher, chairperson of the city's Park Board and a former alderperson.

    Alderperson Scot O'Malley said he preferred to have Lebo Sign Works complete the signs to assure that the lettering is identical.

    "My concern is that they look right. I want them to look great," O'Malley said.

    The general consensus of the council was that the refurbished signs are a big improvement over the faded signs that were there.

    "I think they look sharp," Knudson said.

    A motion by Alderperson Lee Wyland authorizing the city staff to spend up to $2,400 on additional lettering failed when it didn't receive a second.

    O'Malley then moved to seek new bids on the project. The motion was seconded by Alderperson Mary Yacoub and carried on a voice vote with no one opposing it.

    Knudson said the city also needs to decide what attractions to put on the sign. He suggested the historic downtown and Lakefront Park.

    A drawing of the signs presented to council members also listed The Phipps Center for the Arts and the Octagon House.

    Mowing contract terminated

    The City Council learned that the company contracted to mow road right of ways, around city parking lots, city trails and the lawns of city buildings has terminated the agreement. Becker Mowing Services of Amery had agreed to do the mowing for the season for $13,956.

    "Reason for termination is that my labor, fuel and maintenance costs are too high and contract sum does not cover these items," Jeff Becker wrote in a brief letter to the city.

    The council voted to have seasonal city workers, using city equipment, do the mowing for the rest of the summer and fall.

    Two other companies quoted prices of $17,580 and $24,485 for mowing for the remainder of the reason. The city has $9,304 left in its budget for the work.

    The Public Works Committee reported that seasonal employees working for an average of $11 per hour could complete 845 hours of mowing for the amount of money remaining in the budget. Equipment expenses, depreciation and fuel were estimated to add another $1,300 to the cost.

    The committee estimated that 720 hours of mowing would be required for the rest of the season.

    Rotary donates clock

    The council accepted a donation from the Daybreak Rotary Club of a four-sided, solar-powered clock that will be placed on a 15-foot pedestal at the southeast corner of First and Walnut streets.

    The clock will stand roughly where a large flower planter on the corner is now. The property is owned by Ronald Gagnon, who is providing the city with an easement to it.

    The beautification project is being funded by the Daybreak Rotary, the Gagnon family and the Mark and Maeta Gherty Family Fund. It is a centennial project for the Rotary club.

    Claim rejected

    The City Council rejected a claim from the property insurance carrier for Lowell and Kathy Norden, whose Fillmore Street house had a sewage back-up in the basement on Feb. 6.

    The cause of the back-up was determined to be rags and tree roots blocking the sewer main.

    The Nordens' insurance company paid the nearly $10,000 cost of cleaning up and repairing their basement. Now it wants to be reimbursed by the city's provider.

    The Nordens' provider, Horace Mann Insurance Co., said the back-up was the city's fault.

    The city's company, League of Wisconsin Municipalities Mutual Insurance, said the city isn't responsible because it didn't know about the problem.

    "A municipality has no liability unless it knew, or should have known, of the existence of the defect and had a reasonable amount of time to repair the defect," a claims adjuster wrote in recommending that the city deny the claim.

    Mayor Knudson framed the issue as a dispute between insurance companies.

    The Nordens' basement also sustained a sewage back-up in 2001 when a water main in the neighborhood broke. A handful of houses on Fillmore Street sustained damage in that incident.

  • Randy Hanson

    Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

    (715) 426-1066