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Beaver Dam allocates some ARPA funds to improve its downtown

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Beaver Dam Municipal Building file art, 2021

Beaver Dam’s Downtown Façade Improvement Fund will be replenished to the tune of $350,000 with American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Two weeks after the City Council dismissed a plan to use $400,000 of its $1.7 million in ARPA funds for downtown revitalization, a measure to give a slightly smaller dollar amount passed after much discussion on a 10-3 vote, with one abstention.

Alds. Ken Anderson, Mick Fisher and Jack Yuds maintained their ‘no’ votes from the previous meeting. Alds. Jaclyn Shelton, Cris Olson, Joe Bonnett and Andrew Perkins switched their votes to ‘yes.’

Anderson said he “can’t believe we’re even considering this,” and noted the city has needs, such as a new fire truck.

Prior to the vote Monday, Mayor Becky Glewen said there are four individuals with downtown projects currently lined up, which would total about $200,000 in committed funds. She asked for an additional $150,000 for projects that people might be considering.

The Downtown Redevelopment Committee is responsible for doling out matching Building Improvement Grants that are legally limited to the downtown area.

“Each project elevates the other, and elevates the whole area and helps each business continue to grow,” she said.

One of those projects was discussed earlier in the meeting as the City Council learned of the possible donation of a property at 225 Front St. to the city from Wells Fargo, which shares a wall with Chili John’s.

Glewen said the property’s owner died and the property was turned over to the bank in foreclosure. It didn’t sell at two sheriff’s sales and the bank approached the city about possibly donating it. The property is in significant disrepair. There has been interest from more than one party in rehabbing the building with the help of a downtown grant.

Follow Kelly Simon on Twitter @KSchmidSimon or contact her at 920-356-6757.

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