$272,000 in grants received toward Villa Louis Boat Landing project

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City listing properties along First Street, including river slough

By Correne Martin

The city of Prairie du Chien recently received a $207,973 Recreational Boating Facilities Grant, and a $65,720 Ready for Reuse Grant to assist in the Villa Louis Boat Landing project on the north end of St. Feriole Island. Community members may begin to see construction happening yet this fall in the area near there, where the National Decorated Metal factory once stood. The work will be to create overflow parking for the boat landing, according to Interim City Administrator Chad Abram.

Gerke Excavating won the bid for the project. Their contract with the city is for $148,012, for concrete and foundation crushing and removal, including excavation and relocation of contaminated soil, storm sewer, stormwater pond and restoration of the work area. Any contamination will be laid over and sealed.

“It’ll be nice to have three sound boat landings in town,” Abram said. 

The Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, earlier this year, authorized the city to establish an at-grade crossing of the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad tracks with North Water Street, with completion by Aug. 30, 2019.

Budget process underway

Both state grants for the project will certainly help with the city’s current budgeting process, he noted. 

Abram said, he and City Clerk Tina Fuller have been meeting with department heads to determine the figures they each need to balance their departments. Those meetings finished Monday, and the finance committee met with Abram and Fuller both Monday and Tuesday evenings, to consider the budget expenses and revenues, line by line. 

“After that, we will draft a budget, to send to the council for final approval,” he said.

Health insurance figure

Helping keep the budget in line, the city was recently pleased to receive its health insurance estimate for the coming year. There will only be a 3.9 percent increase this year, which is a lower number the city was surprised to see.

“That’s where it can get kind of dicey. Two years ago, it was an increase of 12-15 percent,” he stated. “Insurance is always the wild card (in the budget), but this will help for the 2019 budget.” 

Swapping capital funds

As part of the capital funds for the current year, the council also recently consented to changing the designation of $52,000 for fire truck exhaust systems. Abram said, it was decided that switching to new exhaust systems may not be feasible, since the systems wouldn’t be compatible with all present and future fire trucks. 

Instead, the capital funds will be reallocated, still within the fire department, to purchase lockers for the fire station and upgrade the brush truck. Abram said, there is new protocol that requires the firemen to respond to the station first before heading to the scene. This is the impetus for the lockers.

Land sale

Though these funds are being expended, the city is looking to gain from the sale of four land parcels along First Street, across from the property where the Eagles Club anticipates building. 

According to Abram, the council, after a public hearing, determined the four parcels to have no public need. The city pursued getting appraisals on the lots, which were completed in August. The Appraisal Company presented estimated fair market values on them, as follows: two single lots at $4,000 apiece, a double lot at $6,000, and a river slough lot at $50,000. Then, the city set a minimum bid price for each lot and opened a public bidding period. 

“We received one bid for the river lot property, but the bid was not enough,” Abram explained.

Now, the city will list the properties with a realtor, he shared.

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