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City will pursue grant for Vine Street reconstruction

Hudson will pursue state and federal grant funding for the reconstruction of Vine Street between First and Ninth streets, the City Council decided on May 6.

The unanimous decision followed a report from Karen Erickson of Foth Infrastructure & Environment on the potential cost of the project, and how much a state requirement for bike lanes and sidewalks would add to the cost.

Erickson, from the city's consulting engineering firm, said the grant requirements would add $305,200 to the estimated project cost, bringing the total to about $3.16 million.

If the city were to receive 80 percent state and federal funding for the project, its share of the cost would be just over $1 million.

Erickson said she determined that there is room within the Vine Street right of way for the required bike lanes and sidewalks (on both sides of the street).

It will require 42 feet of width, however, meaning boulevard trees will have to be removed.

Erickson guessed that the construction would take place in 2017 or 2018 if the city's grant application is approved.

Alderperson Mary Yacoub asked if the city's chances of receiving the Surface Transportation Project-Urban grant were reduced because the city has already been awarded one for Wisconsin Street.

Erickson allowed that it could put Hudson at the bottom of the queue for a new grant, but added that funding might depend on how many cities apply for a grant.

City Administrator Devin Willi noted that the Wisconsin Street reconstruction was originally planned for 2013, but has been pushed back to 2015. He indicated that funding for Vine Street might also be delayed if the city is awarded a grant.

The council authorized Foth to complete the grant application for a price not to exceed $4,400. Erickson indicated that the city had already been billed $1,900 for her work.

"I think the size of the project makes it worth the risk," commented Mayor Alan Burchill.

Downtown benches

The council had an extended discussion on the placement of benches on downtown sidewalks before accepting an offer from Hudson Rotarians to place benches at up to four locations.

The locations discussed included Locust Street near Knoke's Chocolates, Elan and Dilly Dally; and Second Street in front of the Chamber of Commerce office, San Pedro Café and Barker's Bar & Grill.

The council approved the bench placements on a 4-2 vote.

Alderperson Lori Bernard argued for uniform benches for the downtown, and the city making the decision about where to place them. She and Alderperson Kurt TeWinkel expressed reservations about having blue benches with the word "Rotary" embossed on the backrests throughout the downtown.

The motion approved by the council asked the Rotary to consider installing benches without the inscription on the backrest, but didn't demand it. Smaller plaques would then carry the Rotary name and that of the businesses that helped fund the benches at $665 each.

Dick Whitcomb and Jim Lutiger represented the Rotary at the meeting.

A request from the owner of Freestyle Yogurt, 529 Second St., for a bench on the east side of his business (Locust Street) was referred to the council's Public Works Committee.

Community Development Director Dennis Darnold asked why Freestyle Yogurt's request was treated differently than the Rotary's.

Alderperson John Hoggatt said design guidelines are needed for downtown benches.

The Freestyle Yogurt bench reportedly is already in place.

New library board member

The council approved Mayor Alan Burchill's appointment of Karen Homeier to a three-year term on the Hudson Area Library Board. She will replace Roy Sjoberg, starting June 1.

Burchill said Homeier is a certified public accountant employed by Resco Co. He said she was an excellent choice for the library board.

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.

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