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Platteville trail project seeks in-kind city help
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One of the organizers of the Moving Platteville Outdoors Rountree Branch Trail asked the Platteville Common Council June 14 for in-kind city assistance to complete the project.

The request from MPO member Gene Weber for in-kind help from city staff and with city equipment may prevent the city from having to spend the $50,000 it committed for the project’s contingency fund, part of the $285,000 the city committed.

Assistance being sought includes staff time, use of the city’s sign shop for donor signs, and machinery assistance with digging post holes.

Before the request, city employees helped removed debris from the 2014 EF2 tornado from portions of the trail east of Wisconsin 80/81 and south of Business 151.

Weber said the project was engaged in a “cost control effort … with our trail providers.” A 25-person committee has committed to two hours of work per week for train maintenance, including removing invasive plants, plantings, and assembling and installing kiosks.

Weber also asked the council to give authority to city employees to make “small-dollar decisions.”

City manager Karen Kurt said using city manpower could save the project from having to use the city-pledged contingency fund. “That being said, there are limits to what the city will do,” she said.

When asked by District 4 Ald. Ken Kilian which city employees would do the in-kind work, Director of Public Works Howard Crofoot said work would most likely be done by Street Department and Parks Department employees.

“So what do I say when we have potholes not filled?” asked Kilian.

At-large Ald. Amy Seeboth-Wilson said the project is “just as important as filling potholes.”

Kurt said the project is “a tremendous project, and there are a lot of people pitching in. … There is a financial implication for us if we go over our budget. … Where we can accommodate the request I think it’s a good idea.”

That seemed to be the consensus of the council, which took no action because it was an Information and Discussion item on the agenda June 14.

MPO decided in August to go ahead with the project even though it was $14,000 short of the $1.676 million fundraising goal. The first $16,640 of proceeds from the first day the McDonald’s on Progressive Parkway opened was the final money MPO said it needed.

The city has committed itself to $285,000 of the project. The city originally approved a $50,000 matching grant in 2012 to what then was PCA’s “3 for $100K” project, to improve the trail and replace the trail bridge near Business 151 and Valley Road. In March 2014, PCA replaced the “3 for $100K” project with Moving Platteville Outdoors, the proposal to pave and light the trail from Chestnut Street to the trail intersection north of Menards.

The council in March 2014 increased the city commitment to $200,000, taking the original $50,000 and another $20,000 from parking impact fees, $25,000 from the park Capital Improvement Plan, and $105,000 from Tax Incremental Financing District 5.

Last Aug. 11, the council voted unanimously to add another $85,000 in financial commitment, with $23,000 from the Robert and Marjorie Graham Community Fund, and $62,000 from funds that were to be used for work on the city’s Municipal Building last year. 

The council vote included using up to $50,000 in 2016 park impact fees as a contingency fund should PCA’s $34,000 contingency fund run out.

The largest portion of the funding of the project was a $642,692 Department of Natural Resources grant, which required a local funding match. The project also got a $45,000 federal Recreational Trails Program grant.

The trail portions east of the dog park on East Mineral Street are now lighted and paved.

PCA pledged to pay for half of maintenance costs up to $2,500 per year.