The first step toward a reconstruction of one of Rhinelander's main routes was approved this week during a special city council meeting.
Mayor Chris Frederickson was authorized by the council to apply for Rural Development monies to pay for the complete reconstruction of Stevens Street. If it goes as projected, the anticipated cost of the project is said to be near $18 million dollars.
The city finished a similar project in downtown Rhinelander last year.
This project would begin where the downtown project ended on north Stevens and go all the way to the Highway 17 bypass on the city's north side. Early estimates would have the city's share at $1.3 million dollars, the sewer utility share at $9.9 million and the water utility share at $6.6 million.
President of Town and Country Engineering, Gene Laschinger recommended applying for federal funds to help offset the debt...
"....The real benefit there, choosing that, is they're offering about $4.5 million in grant funds out of the $9.9 million total. That is a substantial impact reduction by not having to borrow for the entire $9.9 million..."
Laschinger said the need for a complete reconstruction was evident with underground pipes nearing replacement. The street is also in bad shape. The entire complex funding will be determined in the coming months, so the impact on local utility bills is unknown. One concern is the project borrowing could put the city in what financial consultant Sean Lentz described as tight borrowing situation.
The city would have the option of a loan for 20 or 40 years. A complex array of funding involving the water and sewer utility was presented. If all is approved, the work would begin in 2019.