Waupaca project qualifies for federal money
By Angie Landsverk
The city of Waupaca’s request for federal transportation funds to go toward the cost of reconstructing South Main Street received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
The DOT manages the federal Surface Transportation Urban Program (STP-Urban) and notified the city its project is among those approved for 2015-2020.
“The city will leverage about $500,000 to do a $1.9 million (street construction) project,” said City Administrator Henry Veleker.
The city qualified for federal funding of $1.4 million, he said.
“We would not have been successful without the county being willing to allocate some of their funding. Waupaca is an urban area within their jurisdiction,” Veleker said.
The STP-Urban program provides federal funding for projects on roadways classified as urban collector roads.
Veleker said there are only a few streets in Waupaca which qualify, and Main Street is among them.
“Based on population and road miles, you accumulate points, which equates to dollars. If you have a positive balance, you can apply for funding,” Veleker said.
The last time the city used these funds was in 1995 to reconstruct Tower Road, so it had a positive balance of $6,500 a year ago.
After considering this year’s anticipated allocation of $145,000, that meant the city’s expected total allocation was $151,500.
Last spring, John Edlebeck, Waupaca’s former director of public works, told the common council about the potential to seek these funds before he left his position here to become the public works director in Whitefish Bay.
The council voted to seek the federal funds, and Waupaca County allowed the city to use some of the county’s allocation in the application process.
“I was told by the DOT that is what got the city over the top,” Veleker said. “Without them (the county), we wouldn’t have gotten this award.”
The city appreciates the county’s willingness to do so, he said.
A year ago, Waupaca County’s allocation for STP Urban monies stood at $198,331. The county anticipated an allocation of $215,000 this year.
The county allowed the city to use $138,000 of its $198,331, as well as the allocation it expected to receive this year.
As a result, the city was able to leverage a total of about $500,000, Veleker said.
“Basically, you’re using future dollars to do a current project,” he said. “We’re leveraging 10 years of future funding to do the road.”
The city applied for only construction funding, and Veleker said the $1.9 million is just the road piece of the project, which includes the street, sidewalk and curb and gutter.
“We chose in the application to fund design locally,” he said.
The city is currently in the process of reviewing proposals for a downtown redevelopment plan.
Veleker said the anticipated start for the reconstruction of South Main Street is 2018.
The estimated cost of the overall project is between $3 and $3.5 million when anticipated utility work is considered.
On Dec. 1, the council voted to award a contract to Great Lakes TV Seal, Inc. to televise the Main Street sewer main and laterals from Badger to Water streets at a cost of $9,160.
Director of Public Works Justin Berrens made the request, citing the fact that the sanitary main and service laterals are more than 100 years old.
“This infrastructure may be replaced in whole or in partial with the roadway construction scheduled for 2018. Sanitary televising would provide necessary data for designers and contractors in preparation for the reconstruction of Main Street from Badger Street to Water Street,” he wrote in a Nov. 25 memo to the council.
What the city learns from the televising of the sewer main and laterals will have a big bearing on the cost, Veleker said.
“This is just one of a number of things we needed to check off for the project. The council still needs to make a decision on the overall project and timing of it,” he said.
Veleker also said that when the council authorized staff to seek STP-Urban funds for the Main Street project, it did so knowing the DOT would allow the city to reallocate those funds to another qualifying street if it decided not to use the funds for the Main Street project.
Another piece of the project is parking on South Main Street.
A parking study is currently under way, with the third and final count to be completed before Christmas, Veleker said.
The report will be presented to the council next year.
The DOT has a predisposition toward parallel parking, he said in regard to the use of the federal STP-urban funds.
However, the DOT allows a municipality to seek an exception to that design.
Veleker said it is premature to address parking since the parking study is not yet complete.
“The city has not made a decision,” he said.