Common Council approves PSA, participation plan for street project

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Bob Granzow made his first meeting with the Prairie du Chien Common Council as the fourth district alderman. Andy Ringgold took over as the district one alderman the same night. (Photos by Steve Van Kooten/Courier Press)

After roll call at the common council’s April 16 meeting, City Administrator Chad Abram stated there were eight aldermen present with no vacancies. It’s the first time in months that the council has convened with a full roster.

Two aldermen debuted at the meeting: Andy Ringgold for district one and Bob Granzow for district four. Ringgold succeeded Nate Bremmer, while Granzow filled a vacant position.

Other alderpersons in attendance included Kayla Ingham, Kelssi Ziegler, Vicki Waller, Nick Crary, Pam Kiesau and Jaaren Riebe. Mayor David Hemmer, Abram, City Planner Nate Gilberts and City Attorney Amanda Tisdale were also present.


Airport report

Airport Manager Todd Berry submitted a report to the council as part of the City Administrator’s Report. Berry has held his position for approximately 18 months.

Berry became an elected board member of the Wisconsin Airport Manager’s Association, which gave him an opportunity to learn from managers of other state airports, including Milwaukee, Appleton and Madison.

According to Berry, the PdC airport has an estimated 34 airplanes a day on average between landings and low-altitude fly-bys.

The airport held a Wings over Prairie du Chien event last year. The event will be an annual attraction, with the next scheduled for July 13. Berry said he requested military aircraft to be part of the event.

“It’s just a waiting process to see if they’ll come out,” he said.

The airport also hosted the Young Eagles Fly Free event this past October in collaboration with three chapters of the Experimental Aircraft Association. There were 69 flights during the event, with 104 youth participants.

The Prairie du Chien Airport became a member of the Corporate Aircraft Association to increase corporate air traffic in the area. The airport is now visible on CAA maps used by pilots to chart flights through the Midwest. He said the increased traffic could lead to financial gains from fuel sales.

Berry elaborated on other airport projects in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration, including the acquisition of new snow removal equipment and the construction of a storage building.

“That’ll be a great improvement,” he said. “It’s something we really need.”

Berry started work on a 20-year master plan to identify needs for their facilities and services, such as a city-owned hangar and overnight plane storage.


CDBG project

Two representatives from Vierbicher Associates remotely attended the council meeting to submit a professional services agreement (PSA) and a citizen participation plan (CPP) to the city for a street improvement project.

According to the agreement, the reconstruction project will include a portion of Illinois Street between Webster Street and Washington Street. The work will entail the replacement of streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, sanitary sewers, water mains, and storm sewers.

Earlier in 2024, the city completed an income survey of the affected area, which determined the project would be eligible for a community development block grant. A CDBG could award up to $1 million toward the project.

Vierbicher Associates estimated the project’s cost, including engineering and contingency, to be approximately $1,899,000.

Matt Muchow, project manager with Vierbicher, said the application for the CDBG is on May 16, and the PSA and CPP are necessary to move forward. He added that the process to obtain the funding had become more difficult, requiring more planning and documentation; however, it also meant candidates willing to do the paperwork had better chances.

“The CDBG is expecting to receive a ton of applications, and I think to make people more serious about the applications, they started requiring plans,” said Muchow.

The PSA included work on the funding, survey and design phases of the project. Services would entail grant applications, environmental reviews, topographic surveys, design development and permit applications. Total fees were listed at $109,100.

Muchow said the city could defer parts of the design phase, including the permit applications. “It can be deferred until after you know you have the CDBG. The idea is to get what we need right now for the funding agencies.”

Abram asked if that would decrease the design phase fees, which account for $67,400 of the PSA’s cost. Part of that amount included $13,500 for permit application preparations.

“We need to do the funding and survey phases,” said Muchow. “We would have to do half of the design, and the permitting phase we would not have to do.”

Muchow said the city is pursuing additional funding for the project through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Safe Drinking Water Loan Program and Clean Water Fund. He said those programs offered zero-to-low-interest loans for municipal water projects.

The council also reviewed the CPP, which established obligations for the city to inform the public and encourage citizens’ inclusion in the project’s progress, with special consideration for low and moderate income (LMI) individuals.

The U.S. Departments of Administration and Housing and Urban Development require municipalities to implement a CPP to access CDBG funding.

“Essentially, what it is is [sic] a means for the state and federal government to ensure the local governments inform citizens of what is going on and requires the formation of a committee,” Andy Kurtz, of Vierbicher Associates, said.

The plan requires the city to hold public hearings at various points during the project, including an initial hearing to explain development needs, objectives for the project and information about the use of CDBG funding, and a second hearing after construction and other physical work have started. It also established requirements for the city to inform the public.

The council approved the resolution to adopt the CPP and accept the PSA from Vierbicher Associates for the Illinois Street project.

The first public hearing has been announced for May 7 at 6:30 p.m. See page 13 for more details.


Other business

- adopted a resolution to declare April 26 as Arbor Day in the City of Prairie du Chien. No further details were given.

- Jaaren Riebe, alderman at large, was re-elected to president of the common council during a special meeting held immediately before the regular scheduled council meeting.

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