Officials say buildings, trees will be spared bypassing up state funding
There was no shortage of questions when more than three dozen residents showed up for an informational meeting last week on the Village of Fredonia’s plans for the reconstruction of Fredonia Avenue.
The road plans, which will cover the stretch of the village’s primary east-west thoroughfare from Highway 57 to Edmaro Drive, are still in the formation stage.
In fact, trustees put off naming Ayers as the engineering firm for the project Thursday until a memorandum of understanding is finalized with Ozaukee County.
Some design standards, however, have been decided.
The road profile will not look significantly different from the current 36-foot-wide asphalt roadway. The major difference is that the existing 18-inch curb and gutter will be widened to 24 inches, essentially making the roadway width one foot wider to better accommodate drainage.
The additional width would be gained by reducing the terrace between the road and the sidewalk.
“I walked the entire road with (Public Works Director) Roger Strohm, and found only one tree that will have to come down and possibly two others on the south side of the street,” Village President Chuck Lapicola said.
He said that disruption of the landscape is a vast improvement over the changes that would have been required if the village had accepted state funding for the road work.
Lapicola said if state design standards were being followed as a condition of accepting state money, as many as 15 homes and businesses would have had to be removed to accommodate a widened roadway.
Instead of relying of state funding, the village intends to finance the project itself with help from Ozaukee County. Fredonia Avenue is a county highway.
“What I would like to see is us preserving as much green space as possible, or even adding some,” he said.
To minimize the local impact of the project, Lapicola said, village officials have decided to do utility work and paving during the same year. The tentative timetable is to complete engineering and design work this year, with construction to begin next spring or summer.
“We want to do it all at once. The owners of the businesses on Fredonia Avenue have told us they don’t want to have the road closed, then reopened and closed again,” Lapicola said.
“The fear is by extending the project, it might be too much and drive them out of business.”
He said he is still working with We Energies to see if power lines along Fredonia Avenue can be relocated at less than the $2 million price tag once quoted.
Voters rejected paying that amount to bury the power lines in an advisory referendum last year.
“We are not interested in expending a huge amount of money, but if we can put in some underground conduit to handle the power lines for a couple thousand dollars, why wouldn’t we? We don’t want to just say no,” Lapicola said.
Most homeowners along Fredonia Avenue were mainly concerned with the prospect of having to replace laterals that would connect to the new sewer line at their own expense.
Strohm said older laterals will most likely need to be replaced.
“I would say if you don’t have PVC pipe, something will need to be done,” he said.
Lapicola said the village will be looking for ways to help residents cover the cost of the lateral replacement, possibly deferring payments until properties are sold or providing financing for an extended period of time.
Sidewalks will also be replaced along the road, and new walks will be installed on the south end of the project.
Lapicola said the end result of the road project will be an enhancement of the heart of the community.
“I would say two years from now, the only difference people will see is a nice, newly paved road and sidewalk,” he said.
Several future informational meetings are planned on the project once the engineering contract is approved.