City of Prairie du Chien working on details of a pet park

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By Correne Martin

The city of Prairie du Chien recently purchased Wisconsin Department of Transportation land at the Highway 18 Bypass and Lockwood Street intersection, before crossing the tracks to the city's wastewater treatment plant. The intent is to transform the land into a new pet park. 

The city is working with contractors of the current, local construction projects and with the contractor of the upcoming Michigan Street project to obtain fill needed to raise the pet park site.

Interim City Administrator Chad Abram said, at Tuesday’s night’s regular common council meeting, that taking additional earth from these projects will keep the cost to the city down to about $3,500. 

Alderman Edward Hayes-Hall questioned plans for fencing at the pet park and wondered if the fence being replaced from the Marquette Road project corridor could be utilized. 

Abram explained that the fence from phase 1 of the current Marquette Road project is planned to replace some at Cecil Smith Park. However, he noted the possibility that the current Cecil Smith Park fence could be moved to the pet park or some of the Marquette Road fence from phases 2 and 3 might be feasible as well. 

SMRT Bus/Coulee Cab operation and grants

City Planner Garth Frable indicated that the SMRT (Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit) Bus operation will be handed off from the city to La Crosse County in January 2019. But, until then, business will be as usual. A Federal Transit Administration capital grant for $78,400 was accepted by the council toward a new SMRT Bus to add to the fleet, which will cost about $98,000. The grant covers 80 percent of the cost, Frable said. 

“Even though La Crosse County will likely take ownership of the grant and purchase the bus (in 2019), we are just accepting the grant at this time,” he advised the council.

Additionally, the council accepted operating grants for both the SMRT Bus and Coulee Cab operations for 2018. The state funds are just now being awarded.

“Ridership with both programs is continuing to increase,” Frable noted. “With SMRT, it’s rising slower than it did the first years of the program. With Coulee Cab, we always have a dilemma about hours. More often than anything, I get complaints about wait times for the cabs. We’re always trying to adjust the number of cabs available based on the grant hours.”

Frable added that extra hours have been built into these grant funds to cover costs incurred for extra cabs during special city events. 

Other business

•A public hearing is scheduled for the June 5 council meeting regarding surplus city-owned property, in an effort to find out if there’s any public need for the property.

“People are inquiring about it,” Abram said. 

If no public need is found, the city will move forward with assessments of the property. 

•The council approved a resolution submitting a request for $236,976 through the Recreational Boating Facilities Grant Program for the expansion of the Villa Louis Boat Landing. The city resolution resolves to meet all financial obligations of the grant.

•The council approved a professional services agreement between the city and Delta 3 Engineering for wastewater engineering consulting associated with phosphorus reduction. Water Superintendent Larry Gates said Delta 3 Owner Bart Nies was actually the engineer on the wastewater plant, so he was the natural choice for this consulting. 

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