City steps up infrastructure projectsWith about $1 million more in the city’s capital improvement program this year, miles of road and sidewalks received needed investment.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
With about $1 million more in the city’s capital improvement program this year, miles of road and sidewalks received needed investment.
The city’s parks and trails got some needed attention as well.
And some of those projects made it safer for kids to get to and from school.
According to Todd Janigo, assistant director of Public Works, 65 blocks of roads had surfaces ground and new asphalt laid to smooth the path for drivers. That’s more than three times the number of streets fixed by mill and overlay in 2011.
In addition to 65 blocks of roadways, the city made joint repairs on Ogden Avenue in preparation for next year’s Tower Avenue renovation project and along East Second Street. The city is also replacing two business alleys between Ogden and Tower avenues in preparation for the 2013 downtown project, a project that is underway now.
And 129 blocks of new sidewalks were laid — now about 85 percent complete — including 52 blocks neighboring city schools as part of the city’s Safe Route to School plan. In South Superior, East End, Billings Park and along Belknap Street, new pedestrian-activated lighted signs were added to make the roads safer for those who walk to school.
The signs are designed to call drivers’ attention to pedestrians in the area to make it safer for them to cross, Janigo said.
In addition to planned projects, the city is still working to repair damage left by the June flood. Work got underway this week after the city received a permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to replace the culvert that runs on the northern end of Marina Drive leading to Barker’s Island.
RJS Construction started the work Monday by moving an overhead power line that will allow them to proceed.
It’s a project that might have waited a year or two if the Federal Emergency Management Agency wasn’t providing the city with funding to address the June 20 storm damage, Janigo said.
Countywide, FEMA is providing about $11.6 million in federal aid, 75 percent of the cost to repair damages. Municipal governments and state provide 12.5 percent each toward the cost. Superior will get about $1.6 million of that, which does not include uninsured damages at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
While the city has repaired some of the flood damage, and work on Marina Drive gets underway this week, some of the damage still hasn’t been fully addressed. The city is in the design stages to repair damage to the downstream bank of Woodlawn Road near the Nemadji Golf Course, Janigo said. The goal is to use riprap on the bank to prevent the kind of scouring that washed away portions of the bank in June.
Central Park’s tennis courts benefitted from the flood damage, said Mary Morgan, Parks and Recreation administrator. The tennis courts were insured, allowing the city to make complete repairs to the courts that were several feet underwater immediately following the flooding rainfall in June.
In Gullo Park, the city tried a new approach to preserving the surface of the tennis courts, by sealing and repainting the surface.
And in the city’s jewel — Billings Park — work continued this year to install new restrooms and a Victorian-style gazebo to replace the original pavilion in the park. While the work took a toll on the roads through the park proper, repairs have been made with the goal of replacing them in 2015, Morgan said.
With the help of a $20,000 donation from the Superior Rotary this year, the city was also able to finish the Friendship Garden on Billings Park’s third point, dedicated to Superior’s Sister City, Ami, Japan, this summer.
Citywide, 190 new trees line city streets.
In addition to city parks, Morgan said a 10-block area of the Osaugie Trail was paved this year and waterfront signs along the trail were refurbished to brighten them up. Work is continuing on the smaller pedestrian signs on the trail she said.
“It’s been a priority of this administration and it’s needed to be a high priority for a long time,” said Mayor Bruce Hagen. He said the setting city improvements as a priority is part of his agenda for improving the city’s image.
Next year the city plans to focus its efforts in the East End and Central Park neighborhoods, while construction is underway on Tower Avenue in the Central Business District is reconstructed, Hagen said. Once that project is complete, in 2014, Hagen said city efforts will focus on neighborhoods north of Belknap Street.
“We’re going to spruce up neighborhoods,” Hagen said.