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Mayor casts deciding vote on Central Ave. project
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 Mayor Larry Fowler cast the deciding vote to widen Central Avenue between Mill and Fourth streets at a meeting of the Richland Center City Council Tuesday night at the Municipal Building.
     The city action to do the project as proposed included a provision to work with an arborist to save as many trees as possible in the boulevard.
     Alderpersons Marie Rakow, Steve Deets, Judy Shireman, and Bill Kloehn supported the proposal while Susan Fruit, Jay Mueller, Lester Parker and Lorna Dilley opposed the plan.
     Residents had asked that the current street width of 30 feet in portions of the project area be retained.. Some residents attended the meeting but none spoke. They left quietly following the vote.
     Concerns about the street had been expressed at a previous meeting.
Parker, a fireman, said it would not be a concern in case of a fire since the street would be closed.
Shireman, an EMT, said it could be a problem for ambulance calls since streets are not closed for calls.
Deets said he talked with the Street Department employees who pointed out that varying widths make plowing more difficult. In addition, wider streets are easier to keep clear in winter.
     The action will mean the street will be widened about three feet on each side.
     The council was far more unified on other issues during the 90 minute meeting.
     The city approved an easement for the Richland Center Renewable Energy project across the recreation trail. Officials said permits would be sufficient for lines on the proposed new Foundry Drive.
     The council approved the map for the extension of Foundry Drive and dedication of a new street. Fowler said some land for the street was acquired  from Richland Center Foundry at no cost to the city.
     The city council OK’d about $2,000 in change orders for the new Community Center/Senior Center.
The city approved spending not more than $1,500 with EMC for an asbestos abatement project design at the Community Center and not more than $1,500 for EMC to oversee the project. The project is expected to cost between $8,000 and $12,000. The building will be demolished when the new one is ready about April 1.
     The council approved Chosen Valley’s bid of $1,795 for soil borings for the Central Avenue project.
Mueller said the Public Works Committee is working a project for Sextonville Road which presents some concerns due to businesses/industries in the area.