With paving of Silver Beach Road given a higher priority, village officials content with 2018 timetable
Village of Belgium officials seem content to delay the reconstruction of Main Street until 2018 in order to proceed with paving Silver Beach Road and installing a stormwater retention pond in the industrial park.
Officials also conceded that projects like burying utility lines and replacing street lights on Main Street may also have to be postponed.
Matt Greely, project engineer with McMahon Group, told the Village Board on Monday that he estimates the Silver Beach project will cost about $2.9 million, assuming a $700,000 state Transportation Economic Assistance grant is approved.
TEA grants award $5,000 per eligible employee and the industrial park has between 125 and 140 eligible employees, officials have said.
In order to borrow what’s needed for Silver Beach, the village would be better served delaying the Main Street project a year, financial adviser Dave Wagner of Ehlers & Associates said.
“The existing debt for 2016 and 2017 and future borrowing for those years would make these projects almost impossible to complete on the current timeline,” Wagner said. “You would not be able to do both projects without cutting something.”
Trustee Pete Anzia asked why the village was told last spring that Silver Beach would cost about $2.4 million.
Greely said the stormwater pond is “a bit more challenging than we originally thought,” and attributed some of the increase to higher costs in the construction industry.
Without a TEA grant, the village would be looking at spending more than $3.5 million because the state Office of the Commissioner of Railroads ruled last month that the village must install warning devices at the railroad crossing.
The devices could cost as much as $500,000 and must be installed by June 2016.
However, the village is expected to be awarded the grant, Village President Rich Howells said, paring the cost to $2.9 million.
A decision on the grant is expected in April, Greely said.
Design work is about 60% complete on Silver Beach and the village likely needs to acquire property on the road from adjacent private landowners within the next month if it wants to complete the project this year.
“We’re looking at bid opening in June and construction starting some time in July or August,” Greely said. “Substantial completion should be done by November.”
Although it was expected that Main Street construction wouldn’t start until 2018, some village officials expressed optimism that the project could begin in 2017.
Director of Public Works Dan Birenbaum said the county would likely approve delaying the project for a year.
“There are three possible historic buildings on Main Street that they need to figure out what to do with first,” he said. “That could take awhile.”
The village has to pay 10% of the $4.2 million Main Street reconstruction cost, with 80% paid by federal grants and the remaining 10% by Ozaukee County.
Trustee John Hise said he believes delaying the Main Street project will be beneficial to the village in the long-term.
“Silver Beach needs to happen first,” he said. “I’m just wondering what this will do to Main Street.”
Trustee Vickie Boehnlein agreed, but wanted to be sure the road would be able to hold up until then.
Last year, the county patched Main Street, a fix that should last until construction begins.
The village had also planned to bury utility lines and replace lighting on the road, projects that would have cost about $2 million.
“There is some synergy with doing the utilities and the Main Street project together,” Greely said. “It would be a lot easier if you could do it all then.”
Howells said businesses in the industrial park are “ecstatic” about the Silver Beach project because “they get phone calls from truckers every day driving on Highway LL who can’t get to the industrial park because their GPS sends them the wrong way.”
Greely recommended the village draft a land exchange agreement for right of way acquisition with property owners on Silver Beach Road before the next Village Board meeting.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t let this ride until 2018,” Boehnlein said. “The work the county did on Main Street is holding up really well.”