Antigo City Council Works To Fund Downtown Plan

The Antigo Common Council is hoping for a boost from the state to perform some improvement projects in the downtown core.

Aldermen authorized Director of Administrator Services Mark Desotell to apply for two state grants to fund the reconstruction of Fifth Avenue through downtown and the replacement of the Eighth Avenue bridge.

The Fifth Avenue funding might be available through the state’s new STP Freight Grant Program, which provides dollars for improvements to roads connecting state and federal routes. It would cover 80 percent of the eligible portion of the work, Desotell said, and he is pursuing other grant dollars to assist with utility costs.

Nothing is assured, he stressed, and the dollars will be allocated on a competitive basis.

The Fifth Avenue project was originally to commence after the relocation of Highway 64 to the northwest side bypass, and a plan was drawn up for substantial changes to the downtown roadway, including the creation of center boulevards. But work has been repeatedly delayed due to lack of funding.

The project carries an approximate cost of $4.5 million. If grant funds materialize, the city’s portion would still be about $1.3 million.

Desotell will also apply for funding through the state’s local bridge program to replace the Eighth Avenue span.

The resolution notes that the bridge scored poorly enough on a recent federal inspection to qualify for funding. The grant would cover 80 percent of the cost.

The Public Works Committee looked at the possibility of removing the bridge, one of several which cross Spring Brook, earlier this year but a traffic count indicated 630 vehicles cross the span daily.

When the committee discussed the issue in March, Desotell said that even with the grant dollars, the city’s share of the replacement cost could top $150,000.