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Rock Springs approves land purchase for new community center
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Rock Springs approves land purchase for new community center

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ROCK SPRINGS — Railroad Street will potentially be home to a new community center Rock Springs is hoping to build as a part of its relocation plan to move the entire downtown out of the flood plain.

Clerk/Treasurer Jennifer Roloff said the village board unanimously approved to purchase the 4.42 acres of land for $40,545 with the plan to erect the new facility on Railroad Street at its Jan. 20 meeting. The new location is a dry area outside the village’s flood plain.

Rock Springs continues grant search for relocation project, municipal building

Roloff estimated construction of the new community center could start this summer depending on funding with the new building. Building a new community center is step one of the village’s plan to relocate its entire downtown commercial, residential and business district out of the flood plain about a quarter to a half mile away from its current location.

The building will replace the community center on Broadway Street, which will be demolished after it was ruled substantially damaged after 27 feet of water rushed through the village of less than 400 people during the late summer floods of 2018. Roloff said she didn’t know when the old community center could be demolished, as it depends on funding with FEMA.

Flood-damaged Rocks Springs Community Center to be demolished

Nine properties, including the community center, were ruled substantially damaged from the 2018 floods and eligible for potential buyouts from FEMA, Roloff said.

Vierbicher’s Kurt Muchow said the total budget in the new municipal building is $1.9 million and has received grant money to help cut down costs including, a $325,000 community development block grant close funds grant from Sauk County and preliminary grants approved by the Department of Administration for the Community Development Block Grant Emergency Assistance Program for $819,193 and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Community Facilities Assistance Program for $250,000.

The village is also planning to use FEMA buyout money and flood insurance, about $300,000, and $100,000 in library funds towards the project.

Rock Springs could move its downtown in 2020

To make up the gap, the board approved borrowing up to $165,000 for another grant to build the community center at the meeting. The amount is only tentative based on grants and the cost of the building, Roloff said. She said taxes would increase if the village were to borrow that amount, but didn’t know how much.

“That’s quite a ways out question for me to even try to determine,” she said. “This is all just preliminary stuff to get us moving to get us to the point where we can start building.”

Muchow said the 8,200 square foot building includes village offices, a community center, library, fire department, public works and fire department garage. He said the next step after the construction of the building is turning the village fire station into a potential commercial business. The next step after that is to develop residential areas outside the flood plain. Vierbicher is the engineering consultant in the project.

Rock Springs explores relocating downtown after another round of floods

The commercial and residential development could start as soon as this year or next spring, he said. He said a tax increment district could be created to help with the village’s new residential and commercial development. The board also approved to submit applications for United States Department of Agriculture Sewer Application and Water Application, Roloff said. Muchow said the items are a part of the village’s flood recovery project to construct new sanitary sewer mains and upgrade the existing sanitary sewer lift station for the new residential area of the relocation project to hook up lots not served by water and sewer.

IN DEPTH: After record 2018 floods, municipalities share lessons learned, new way forward

In other flood recovery related items, the village board approved to apply for the Department of Natural Resources Municipal Flood Control Grant, which will help pay for the village’s 12.5% share of the FEMA buyouts through the Hazard Mitigation Program. FEMA and the state will each pay 75% and 12.5%, respectively to cover the village’s estimated $1.2 million in flood damage.

The board approved Tenny Albert as a contractor for appraisals and the Department of Natural Resources Flood Control Appraisal Grant quote of $7,250 for all the properties involved in the hazard mitigation program grant, Roloff said.

Other business

The board approved to renew its fire/EMS contract with North Freedom Fire Department from 2020 until 2022, Roloff said.

The board approved changing its March meeting date from March 16 to March 23 at 6:45 p.m. for utility and 7:15 p.m. for the regular board meeting at the village fire station at 105 East Broadway Street in Rock Springs.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.

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