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Peshtigo’s reconstruction not bypassing grants

By Ann Knoedler

Riverfront Park Boardwalk Development Project, Peshtigo

In fall 2009 a new four-lane Highway 41 Bypass in Marinette County opened for business. The Highway 41 traffic that previously traveled through the city of Peshtigo now bypasses it, presenting a challenge for the businesses there.

More challenges for the city are looming. The only direct route over the Peshtigo River from one side of the city to the other will be unavailable to pedestrian and vehicle traffic for four months in 2012. WisDOT will be reconstructing the bridge prior to turning the old Highway 41 route (now Business 41) over to the city as a reclassified Rural Collector Highway.

Without the previous level of traffic driving through the city, businesses now must market themselves even more as a destination point. But all is not doom and gloom — the city is staying on top of the situation, and starting this spring and through much of 2012, many improvements will take place.

This is a city with a huge asset – the Peshtigo River and surrounding wildlife areas. Thanks to the hard work of city grant writers going after matching grants from the DNR they will be able to build on the city’s attraction as a destination point for outdoors enthusiasts.

Here’s what lies ahead for construction in Peshtigo:

1. Major redevelopment of Badger Park and Campgrounds: Receipt of a $154,197.50 WDNR Stewardship Urban Rivers matching grant will allow a $308,395 project to proceed at this park. Work will include bathroom construction, pavilion roof, benches, ADA access trails, picnic sites, grilling facilities, shoreline restoration, fish cribs, new camping facilities, road and driveway enhancements, playground equipment, landscaping and more. Work will begin this spring, pause for the summer tourist season which begins Memorial Day weekend, and resume in October.

2. The city also received approval of a WDNR Stewardship Acquisition and Development of Local Parks matching grant in the amount of $55,045. It will go toward a $110,090 project to revitalize Riverfront Park. The city has issued a request for proposals seeking landscape architecture and engineering services to design and administer the project. Proposals are due Wednesday (see the JobTrac listing). The Riverfront Park project will provide fishing/viewing piers, lighting, benches, landscaping, and new walkways.

3. A $600,000 WisDOT grant will pay for downtown beautification work which will occur in 2012 when the Peshtigo River Bridge is being reconstructed. This will consist of decorative lighting, new curb/gutter/sidewalks, bike/walking trails, signs, trees, shrubs, planters, waste receptacles, benches, decorative stamped concrete and more.

4. Underground utility work will take place in 2011 in preparation for the above-ground work connected with the new bridge.

5. Water tower improvements, including a new paint job, are also planned for the near future.

At the same time the bridge is being reconstructed, Wisconsin Public Service will repair their dam downstream of the bridge. This will require a draw down of the river for the dam work.

Who knows what the bared shoreline will reveal with this drawdown — history buff scavenger hunters may want to check it out.

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

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