Neglected repairs were ordered in 2011
By Bert Lehman
With the next DNR funding opportunity available in 2018, it appears unlikely that the city of Clintonville will be able to use that as a source of funds for the needed repairs to Pigeon River Dam.
That was the message Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell gave the council at its Feb. 9 meeting.
The city was originally told by the DNR in 2011 that repairs needed to be made to the dam by 2012. Those repairs were never made.
“Since that time the DNR’s funding and scoring criteria has changed, and the Pigeon River Dam is classified as a low hazard facility,” Kell said. “All the scoring now is tilted towards high level problem facilities. The consultants are telling me that it is going to be highly unlikely that the city is going to be able to get DNR funding to cover 50 percent of this repair project.”
He added that he felt if the city would have addressed the dam issue earlier, it may have been able to obtain funds from the DNR.
“Now it looks like we’re going to have to do it on our own,” Kell said.
The cost of the repairs is unknown. Kell said he is in the process of determining the cost.
Alderwoman Mary-Beth Kuester asked if the dam fails before it is repaired, would the DNR still let the city repair it.
Kell said he didn’t know that answer, but that he knows the DNR “frowns” on dam facilities.
“I think those [decisions] are always made on a case by case basis,” Kell said.
He added that based on what he read in the report about the dam, he didn’t feel it was at a danger level.
“But you can’t let this go forever because the cement that is under the water is eroding away every year with the amount of water that is rushing by it,” Kell said. “Eventually it’s going to be a problem.”
Kuester asked Kell if he knew if this issue had come to the council before.
Kell said he didn’t know. The dam report was found in public works files and currently Public Works Director Toby Kersten made Kell aware of the report when it was found a couple months ago.
Alderman Steve Kettenhoven told the council that from past experience with the Pigeon Lake Rehabilitation District that the DNR would like to see it go away.
He also asked if federal funds might be available since Pigeon Pond provides a recreational facility.
Kell said he will ask the consultants that question. He added that there might be other sources of funding.
Kell told the council that GreenStone Farm Credit has purchased property at 280 S. Main Street, just north of Dairy Queen.
“They are going to be building a new office building on that site,” Kell said.
After working with Creative Converting regarding a potential warehouse expansion, Kell said he didn’t think the expansion will happen. One reason is the property that was being considered in Clintonville is only 14 acres, and 23 acres would be needed. The second issue involved ownership versus leasing the warehouse.
Kell said he did offer to work with the company in the future if it wanted a warehouse facility closer to its Clintonville plant. He told the company that land in the industrial park north of State Highway 156 could be used.
Kell informed the council that the former Bear’s Den will be leased and reopened by a party that has a number of facilities in different communities in Wisconsin.
“They’re used to that industry and have successful projects in other communities,” Kell said.
Image courtesy City of Clintonville
Kell shared with the council the graphic that will appear on the billboard just south of New London. The council approved leasing that billboard at its last meeting.
The billboard promotes Clintonville as being the birthplace of North Central Airlines. It also promotes the fact the city of Clintonville is working with the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin to bring a DC-3 to the center in Sheboygan Falls.
The graphic includes an extension coming off the billboard. The council approved a one-time cost of $375 for that extension.
He added that there are efforts underway to expand the current FWD Museum.
“I think there’s going to be an absolutely marvelous opportunity to tie these projects together, and have those parties work together on this,” Kell said. “The people involved with the FWD Museum are very excited about this and supportive about the project as well.”
He added, “The whole issue of trying to bring people to Clintonville I think is going to start to gel as we get this done, and the FWD people to work on their project to make that a much larger tourism attraction for the city.
The council approved a loan subordination agreement with Premier Community Bank for Mark Kraeger of Lakeshore Auto. The business has an outstanding revolving loan with Waupaca County and the city of Clintonville.
Kell said Lakeshore Auto is refinancing, and the bank is requiring the county and city to subordinate to their loan. He said the city is currently subordinated to the bank, so the city would stay in the same position.
“Our outstanding balance on this is about $12,000 and they have never missed a payment,” Kell said.
The subordination agreement was approved 9-0-1. Alderwoman Amy Steenbock abstained. After the vote Steenbock said she abstained because she is employed by Premier Community Bank.
Wastewater treatment plant
The council unanimously approved a loan resolution and grant acceptance for the USDA wastewater treatment plan upgrade project.
Kell said this resolution needed to be approved in order for the city to secure its final financing for the project, as well as the $2.4 million grant that the state is providing for the project.
“We currently have interim financing in place,” Kell said. “That will be used throughout construction of the plant until the plant is almost completed. When the plant is completed this final takeout loan from the federal government will supplant and payback the interim financing.”
The council unanimously approved a resolution for the water and sewerage utilities use of streets and alleys. Kell said this is required by the federal government.
As part of the process, Kell said the city had to document ownership of almost every sewer line in the city.
“Through that process we did find out we had one lift station we had no easement for, it was on private property,” Kell said.
Kell said a couple other issues were found during the documentation process, but those were taken care of.
“The property owners were really great working with us,” Kell said.