Design changes in reconstruction project aimed at trimming cost in effort to reach agreement with town
The Village of Grafton has revamped its plan to reconstruct Falls Road in an effort to reach an accord with the Town of Grafton on the long-delayed project.
Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said the latest plan calls for design changes in the upgrades, which previously included widening the road between Blackhawk Drive and Port Washington Road, laying sewer and water mains, installing a bike path, adding a sidewalk on the south side of the road and repaving.
“It is hoped that both sides will be agreeable to the changes so that the project can move forward,” Hofland said.
The cost of the work has been estimated at $1.1 million, most of which would be paid by the village. Although the town has estimated the cost of a less extensive, rural upgrade of the road at $218,000, it has not made an offer to the village for its share of the project.
Town officials have also objected to the village’s plan for deferred special assessments for the project that adjoining property owners in the town would have to pay if their land is annexed into the village.
Hofland said revised plans prepared by the village staff call for eliminating ditches from a 1,320-square-foot section of Falls Road from Blackhawk Drive to Cheyenne Avenue.
The sidewalk in that section would be widened from 5 to 8 feet to accommodate bike and pedestrian traffic. Storm sewer, a shared-use path, curb and gutter would be installed.
Other design changes would affect a 2,640-square-foot section of Falls Road between Cheyenne Avenue and Port Washington Road.
Those changes, Hofland said, include extending a 13-foot-wide shared-use path on the south side and installing a 3-foot-wide bike path on the north side. There would be no sidewalk, curb or gutter installed.
Although the village plans to install a water main the full length of Falls Road between Blackhawk Drive and Port Washington Road, the sewer main would only be extended from Blackhawk Drive to Cheyenne Avenue, Hofland said.
“It is anticipated that the overall cost of the project will be reduced, and that could lead to a reduction in the future special charges,” he said.
The project changes were scheduled to be presented to the Town Board on Wednesday, Nov. 12, and considered by the Village Board on Monday, Nov. 17. A joint meeting of the boards is scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, at Village Hall, 860 Badger Cir.
The last joint meeting was held in July. Since then, town officials have voiced frustration over what they described as the village’s failure to address town concerns, particularly deferred assessments they believe are unwarranted.
However, Town Chairman Lester Bartel also urged the Town Board to continue working with the village to resolve the differences.
Hofland said the village is aware of town concerns but reasserted that the upgrades cannot be completed without deferred charges to future benefitting property owners. Based on the $1.1 million project cost, the village’s cost share called for 18 deferred assessments ranging from $1,907 to $44,276.
“The cost of the proposed improvements is significantly higher for the village than the town,” Hofland said.
Hofland said the village hopes to finalize an accord at the Nov. 20 meeting. That, he said, would allow the village to secure bids this winter for the sewer and water work, which is scheduled for late spring 2015.
Roadwork would then be done in fall 2015, followed by final resurfacing in spring 2016.