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Business is booming in tiny Cumberland

By Ann Knoedler

The “Island City” of Cumberland (Barron County) has been making some important improvements in a relatively short span of time … and in a down economy.

New City Hall, Police Department and Municipal Courts Facility, First Avenue-County Road P, Cumberland

Cumberland Library Addition and Alterations, 1305 Second Ave., Cumberland

600,000 Gallon Elevated Water Tower (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds-ARRA), Cumberland

I’m struck by how this small municipality (population about 2,280) has carried on with its construction plans since fall of 2008, the start of the current economic crisis.

In October 2008, bids were received for the Cumberland Public Library’s two-story, 3,500-square-foot addition and restoration project. The general contractor and construction manager for the project was Market & Johnson Inc. of Eau Claire and the architect was Architectural Design Group of Menomonie.

Back in 1905, the city library association applied for and received a $10,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie to build a library. This “genuine Carnegie” library has been on both the Wisconsin and National Register of Historic Places since 1992. So, they have quite a jewel with this building.

In September 2009, the Cumberland Municipal Utilities office opened bids for a new 600,000 gallon water tower. The project was awarded to Landmark Structures I, L.P. of Fort Worth, Texas, in the amount of $1.72 million. The city received about $1.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to pay for water system improvements, including the water tower. The project engineer was Ayres Associates Inc of Eau Claire.

And now, on Oct. 7, bids will be received and opened for the construction of a new 7,485-square-foot City Administrative Building to house the City Hall, police department and municipal courts. The cost estimate is $1.6 million and will replace the current City Hall built in 1948.

The city plans to use a State Trust Fund Loan and Build America Bonds to help pay for the project. Build America Bonds are a component of the ARRA. The project architect is HSR Associates of La Crosse.

The ARRA has been a controversial topic since its passage in 2009. However, simply from the perspective of reporting projects that are bidding in Wisconsin, I can see the good it is doing for some communities and the work it is providing for certain aspects of the construction industry.

Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She can be reached at (414) 225-1822.

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