Two big projects currently on the Rhinelander Public Works Department's plate are proceeding as planned, according to public works director Tim Kingman and city adminstrator Blaine Oborn.
Kingman told the city's Public Works Committee Monday the sewer interceptor project and the downtown streetscape project are progressing as scheduled.
The interceptor project, which began last summer, is inching closer to completion, Kingman said.
"The interceptor project is alive and well. It's moving forward. The underground utilities are going to be completed this week and then we are going to take steps getting the road into place," he said.
"There is a tentative date out there right now - the middle of August - to work on Davenport Street and the bridge crossing there. In between that time and now, Sutliff Avenue will have to be up and functional before we do any (additional) road closures."
After the work on those two roads is complete, the city will focus on Kemp Street to finish off the project.
"Once Davenport and Sutliff are both open, then we'll be looking at Kemp Street as well, but we're looking at later in August to shut that down," Kingman said. "That would be like a week's worth of where we would go in and put in the final surfaces."
All in all, Kingman said the project is advancing as expected.
"The project's moving along well and the weather hasn't really impacted anything," he said.
While the interceptor project in nearing completion, the streetscape project is just getting under way.
Planning meetings have been held over the past few months, as city and Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. (DRI) officials have gathered input from community members and downtown business owners in preparation for a meeting on July 23 when there will be an opportunity for the public to offer feedback on the draft plans to be presented by Vierbicher Associates, the Madison-based firm charged with designing the streetscape project.
In the meantime, a survey has been sent out to downtown business owners in an effort to gather more feedback on the four options for the street reconstruction.
Option one would create parallel parking spots on each side of Brown Street. It would widen the sidewalks by about 20 feet, but there would be 61 parking spaces available compared to the 107 now available.
Option two would make Brown Street a one-way street with angled parking on each side. That option would create five more parking spaces and sidewalks would be increased around 9 inches.
Option three would keep the street design the same and option four would see Brown Street offer both angled and parallel parking, with 85 spaces created and sidewalks widened by about 10 inches.
Renditions of each option, along with much more information on the planning process and opportunities to offer input, can be found at www.rhinelanderstreetscape.com.
City Administrator Blaine Oborn said the city is working with DRI to review the surveys in preparation for the July 23 meeting.
"DRI is doing the survey of the businesses and property owners in downtown and we will be talking about that ... at the July 23 public meeting," he said.
No matter which reconstruction option is chosen, Oborn said the city, affected business owners and DRI are going to have to work together to make sure all the bases are covered.
"We'll work the issues through," he said. "It will be coming at some point to the various committees of the city to ultimately look at the results and recommendations of DRI."
One issue that will have to be worked out is the extra snow removal that will be needed due to wider streets and sidewalks.
"The wider streets that they want to do, we'll have to deal with snow removal issues and have the responsibility clearly stated way ahead of time so we don't have any problems," he said.
"We'll have to decide whether the city wants to pick up extra amounts or the property owners will pick it up."
Parking ban on Ann Street
In other business, the committee recommended approval of a citizen request to remove the parking ban on the north side of Ann Street between Eagle and Stevens streets.
"There's been a request from a homeowner in that area that since St. Joseph's no longer has mass on Sundays, he's requesting to have the parking ban removed so that both sides of the street can be utilized," committee chairman Tom Gleason explained.
City Street Superintendent Tony Gilman explained the issue further.
"Basically, the individual that lives on the current no parking side parks his boat, camper, cars, everything in front of the neighbor's house because there is parking allowed, so then when (the neighbor) has people over, they have to park all the way down (the street)," he said before stating that lifting the ban makes sense.
"It makes perfect sense, since it's not a high traffic area anymore. ... It's a very underutilized street."
Gleason said the police have been called to the area on more than one occasion due to the parking situation.
"There has been issues involving local law enforcement and disputes between the neighbors," he said. "Apparently, the police have been there several times because of the dispute between the two neighbors."
The committee unanimously approved the change and forwarded it to the City Council for final approval.
Marcus Nesemann may be reached at email@example.com.
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