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Beaver Dam to apply for grant to reconstruct South Spring Street

May 14, 2019

Beaver Dam is looking to remake South Spring Street.

The Common Council on Monday unanimously approved moving forward with applying for a Community Development Block Grant to help pay for major work on South Spring Street from Mill Street to Judson Drive. The infrastructure, such as sewer and water lines beneath South Spring Street, was built in 1932 and 1933. The street was last paved in 1978.

The grant money, funded by the U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development and administered by the state, is intended to help support big infrastructure and facility projects in communities.

The grant is competitive and comes with a maximum award of $1 million with a match of $500,000 from the community, officials said. A city can apply for the grant every two years. In two years, the city could perhaps apply for another project. Haskell Street was also under consideration Monday night.

The estimated project cost is $3.75 million, with the $1 million grant and funds from the utilities, the city would still need to borrow $1 million. City officials envision the project taking two years.

“Do I want to vote to stay with that spending limit program that we had for many years or do I want to vote to blow it yet again?” said council member Mick Fischer.

Council President Cris Olson said that it’s a major project that can’t be delayed any longer as the road is a major entryway to the city and it’s riddled with potholes.

“I guess the main concern I hear from my constituents is roads. I guess I don’t have much hesitation to possibly acquire 1 million in grant dollars for a project that’s going to have to be done regardless” said council member Kara Nelson. “The citizens of Beaver Dam are already complaining that we have so many major roads that need fixing. This is major road, a major thoroughfare. This is a major priority.”

Council member Kevin Burnett wondered when Madison Street is supposed to be reconstructed and if future work might take attention away from it. Madison Street is scheduled for 2022, but final projects are decided one year at a time and that could always change. About $200,000 was spent on the worst sections of Madison Street this year.

“Once we do Spring Street, people are going to stop using Madison Street and start using Spring Street,” he said.

Mayor Becky Glewen said you have to start somewhere and the data and information for the Spring Street project is available now.

The remaining section of South Spring that goes through downtown is on the schedule for a $1 million reconstruction that could change. The downtown portion of the street couldn’t be included in this grant and the council would need to address it at a later time when deciding what to borrow.

Jon Abfall wondered why Spring Street was chosen over Haskell Street.

“We did look at both and got income information for both streets so we had that information,” Glewen said. “There was just consideration and talking about how many people are using South Spring and the condition of that road compared to Haskell and feeling that the main gateway road should be addressed first.”

Director of Engineering Richie Piltz said this is the first attempt at using the grant for a street project and the city learned of it a few months ago.

A majority of residents on the stretch of the street needed to be low-to-moderate income to qualify, which they are.