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EM village board: water study indicates some projects could cost over $700,000

By Cara L. Dempski

ELK MOUND — Two engineers from Cedar Corporation, the organization providing engineering services for Elk Mound, presented a report on a water study requested earlier this year by the village board.

Len Schreiber and Isaac Steinmeyer spoke to the trustees and village president at the December 6 regular board meeting to detail the results of their water study. The report was originally requested after an offer of approximately 35 acres of land by Lynn Harrison to the village for a potential new steel ground storage reservoir.

The current reservoir, located on land behind a home on North Holly Avenue, holds approximately 80,000 gallons in a concrete underground water storage tank. According to the report, “standard engineering practice is for a water system to provide enough water for a fire flow event to happen during a peak hour water demand event.”

In such a scenario, a fire flow demand of 2,000 gallons per minute (GPM) for two hours was assumed, which renders the water storage deficiency for the village at 177,650 gallons. Schreiber said such a deficiency indicates an urgent need for more storage in the village water system.

Both Steinmeyer and Schreiber also recommended the arterial water mains along Holly Avenue, Menomonie Street and University Street be increased from the current eight-inch mains to either a 10- or 12-inch main for future development and growth concerns. The village is also encouraged, whenever possible, to loop dead end water mains to provide better water pressure near the schools and homes on the south and east ends of the village.

Another concern listed in the report was the single connection to the current reservoir and the two village wells.

“If the connections were to fail, the village would be in an emergency situation for getting water service to residents and the schools,” Schreiber noted.

Proposed costs

The land offered by Harrison is a wooded area north of the high school along University Street, and would cost approximately $50,000 to acquire per the construction estimate provided by Cedar Corporation.

If the village were to build a new steel reservoir on that site, it would cost an estimated $749,920, and would cost $699,920 without the purchase of the land. The estimate indicates it would cost the village $264,230 to simply loop the University Street main that deadends just past the schools.

Another loop between the schools and homes on Independence Drive would cost nearly $203,000, and a loop from the high school to Juniper Avenue is roughly $84,000. A secondary connection to the existing reservoir is estimated at $125,520.

The estimated cost for repair of existing storm sewers and street construction along Mound Park Drive from South Holly Avenue to Independence Drive, Taylor Street from Fir Avenue to North Holly Avenue, Garland Street from U.S. Highway 12 to Taylor Street, Fir Avenue from Highway 12 to Taylor Street, Ivy Avenue from Lincoln to University Street, and Lincoln Street from North Holly to the middle school will cost approximately $1.94 million combined.

Paying for it

Schreiber did provide the trustees and president with two options to pay for some of the work the report detailed for completion, including a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant.

The CDBG program information will be released sometime in early 2018 with the grant application typically due in May. Information Schreiber provided indicated grants are available for up to 50% of a project cost with a maximum grant of $500,000 available.

Over 51 percent of community residents must be low to moderate income, and he encouraged the village to provide an income survey for residents directly benefiting from the proposed project. He also explained the community needs to match the cost of the grant money provided.

The TAP grant application is due January 26, 2018 and was authorized by the FAST  – or Fixing America’s Surface Transportation – Act. Eligible projects are the Safe Routes to Schools program, transportation enhancements, and bicycles and facilities programs.

Costs for construction in surface improvement projects must cost over $300,000. The grant provides 80 percent of the program cost and asks the local communities to provide the other 20 percent. However, if the grant is not awarded, then the project does not proceed.

At the end of the presentation, trustee Terry Stamm expressed his gratitude to Schreiber and Steinmeyer for the comprehensive report, and said they two had given the board much to think about.

Other business

The board turned its attention to other items after the Cedar Corporation representatives left the meeting.

The president and trustees unanimously approved the 2018-2019 election inspectors, and the 2018 water/sewer budget. The board also approved using funds originally donated by the family of Manville Price for memorial benches at the Village Park to be used for benches placed along Menomonie Street/Highway 12.