Project bids to give downtown Beaver Dam a new look moved forward Wednesday despite a variety of concerns.
The city’s community development committee recommended a bid from Forward Contractors for work along Front Street and a proposed pedestrian walkway to the tower parking lot. The full Front Street work will involve new landscaping and the city is also looking into purchasing a building to demolish it and make way for a designated path to the new Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre, 117 Maple Ave.
The contracted work would involve about $41,000 for the walkway, including brick paving, and $38,000 for the work on Front Street. The Common Council earlier this year approved $580,000 for downtown revitalization that the development committee is helping to plan. The bids will now move to the council’s operations committee for a vote.
The committee decided to move ahead with plans to plant new trees along the 100 and 200 blocks of Front Street. John Neumann’s supervisor for parks and forestry, John Neumann, has expressed concerns over the maintenance and lifespan of trees placed in that area.
Mayor Becky Glewen said she has spoken with the contractors that would be involved with planting trees about potential engineering options.
“They say it’s done,” she said. “They didn’t seem hesitant.”
The committee decided to table discussion of decreasing money spent on installing planters and putting it into buying new benches for the Front Street area. Members of the committee said they wanted to see more of a plan from the city first about how planters and benches would be laid out and make sure everything worked aesthetically.
“I am still having a struggle with how it’s going to look,” said committee member Mary Vogl-Rauscher. “You’re spending so much money on making everything beautiful ... we need a layout for the planters. Everything else so far is programmed.”
The city is proposing spending its own money on benches and then getting sponsorships from individuals and organizations to put plaques on them. That money would then be used to help pay the debt for downtown revitalization.
Committee members wondered whether sponsors should just pay for the benches directly, but Glewen said the cost of a bench could be too much for an individual.
The committee will continue to help direct the money for downtown projects over the coming months in conjunction with the Common Council and its committees.