The city of Waupaca was awarded another grant for the renovation of South Park, but an archaelogical study is also required as part of the grant.
As a result, construction of the Phase One portion of the project, which was set to begin this fall, must wait until the study is completed.
“We’re in a holding pattern,” City Administrator Henry Veleker said Monday, Oct. 7.
When the city received word from the DNR that its grant for Phase Two of the project had been approved, it also learned the DNR will also require an archaelogical study in the park.
In an Oct. 4 memo to the Common Council and department heads, Veleker said, “While this in and of itself is not unusual, it did make DNR grant staff aware that they should have required the study as part of the Phase One work that we’re currently undertaking.”
Veleker said it was explained to him that when the city received the second grant, something “historic” came up on the DNR’s database.
“It’s probably the Hutchinson House,” he said.
City staff are working to conduct the study as soon as possible so as to not adversely affect the timing of the project, he said in the memo.
“Staff sought out firms to do the work and the firm identified is the UW-Milwaukee School of Anthropology,” Veleker wrote. “They have the staff and the knowledge to perform this work and they are available to begin the work now.”
Veleker consulted with Mayor Brian Smith, and the mayor authorized the work to begin now in the interest of time.
The study will cost about $3,000, and the budget approved by the Common Council for the project included a $15,000 contingency.
The study cost will be applied toward that contingency, and the study proposal will be on the council’s Oct. 15 agenda for approval, he wrote in the memo.
“Hopefully, this can be concluded by the end of the month,” Veleker said earlier this week.
The city received a $339,150 Wisconsin Stewardship Grant for the first phase of renovations at the park.
Last month, the council awarded the construction contracts for it.
Approximately 23 trees were then removed in the park – some where the new shelter will be constructed and others where the new playground will be located. Veleker said some trees also had to be removed where the water and storm sewer portions of the project will occur.
He met with members of the historial society and several citizens who expressed concerns about the number of trees that were removed.
“We will be planting trees that are a little bit older,” he said of the trees that will be planted to replace those taken down.
Veleker said some of the trees that were removed had started to rot, including a very large one in the park.
The city is also receiving a $94,240 grant from the DNR. It will fund 50 percent of the the total cost of the second phase of the park project which is $188,480.
The second phase of the overall park renovation will improve the parking lot, install lighting in the lot and throughout the park, and undertake shoreline restoration and trail upgrades.
The local share of this portion of the project is proposed to be funded as follows:
• $38,435 from a land donation from the city.
• $24,600 from private donations.
• $12,000 from city in-kind labor and materials.
• $19,205 to be determined.
As the city waits to begin the first phase of the project, Veleker said, “Construction is going into next spring. It’s not a huge impact on the schedule. It’s been a park 100 years. I doubt they’ll find something.”