The Platteville Common Council voted to quadruple its funding commitment to the Platteville Community Arboretum trail project.
The council voted 7–0 March 11 to use the $50,000 the city pledged as part of this year’s scheduled “3 for $100K” project, and commit an additional $150,000 in funding toward the $1.2 million expanded Moving Platteville Outdoors project.
The funding commitment and additional local fundraising — including $25,000 from Platteville Development Group, pledged at the meeting — is expected to cover half of the project’s cost, with $600,000 coming from a state Department of Natural Resources grant that must be submitted by May 1.
Of the $150,000, $20,000 will come from park impact fees, $25,000 will come from the park Capital Improvement Plan, and $105,000 will come from Tax Incremental Financing District 5.
The “3 for $100K” project was to replace one bridge, relocate another bridge, and reroute portions of the trail. The additional work would pave and light the entire length of the trail.
Jim Schneller of Platteville Development Group, the developer of TID 5, spoke in favor of the project. Schneller said PDG would donate $25,000 to the project if the city agreed to the additional $150,000.
“Obviously this benefits me as a business owner and a shareholder of Keystone Development,” he said, adding that the benefits of the trail are “intuitive,” including economic, tourism, social, health and business benefits.
Schneller said TID 5 was “the most successful tax increment district in the history of the city. I think that was a good investment of the city, and I think this is a good investment as well.”
Schneller argued that the DNR said funding would be easier to get as part of the entire package, instead of the original 3 for $100K plan.
At-large Ald. Mike Denn proposed the city sponsor the grant but table the funding, saying, “Why does the city have to be the first one to come in with a commitment?”
Kris Wright of the PCA said that potential donors will ask the size of the city’s commitment.
“There is $50,000 in it,” he said. “But what we need to generate for a $1.2 million grant is $600,000. You would be comfortable in saying we’re giving only $50,000?
“How do you approach these funding sources with a sponsor who’s only paying a small amount of money? It’s a hard sell. … This is a one-shot deal … if we do this again, it’s going to cost a lot more money.”
Denn’s motion to table funding died for lack of a second.