Permission is half granted for roadwork

Town to receive state money to pave its portion of Silver Beach Road; village application was denied
Ozaukee Press staff

A project decades in the making that brought out passion on both sides — paving the portion of Silver Beach Road that leads into the Village of Belgium’s industrial park — is slated to get partially paved next year.

The Town of Belgium announced last month that it received a Town Road Improvement grant for $694,000, or 70% of the project’s cost, to pave its portion of the road. The town will have to pay about $300,000.

The town’s unpaved portion of the road is about one mile long, from Highway LL to the railroad tracks.

Work includes clear cutting trees, mowing and grading ditches, doing road base work and putting in new culverts. The 24-foot wide road will be paved with asphalt and have three-foot gravel shoulders.

“Just very exciting news,” Town Chairman Tom Winker said. “I’m pretty proud we got that through. You don’t find free money every day.”

The Village of Belgium is still waiting for that day.

Public Works Director Dan Birenbaum said he learned the village will not receive the $300,000 grant it sought to pave its portion of the road and create two culverts to prevent water from gushing over the pavement.

The village decided to apply for the grant after it learned the town was doing the same. They were hoping to get the road done in a similar timeframe.

Without the grant, Birenbuam said, he isn’t sure what will happen. He hasn’t talked to the Village Board about it yet.

Paving the road was a longtime goal of the late trustee Clem Gottsacker, who regularly said that it would cause businesses in the industrial park to expand and would attract others to come to Belgium. It would also keep truck traffic off Main Street, which the village repaved a few years ago.

Trustee Don Gotcher and former Trustee Victor Lecato also made paving the road their top priority. Trustee Dale Pfeifer, who is in his third stint on the board, said the work should have been done decades ago.

The village considered pulling the trigger on the project, which initially included annexing the town’s portion, many times, but other priorities kept outranking it.

The engineering work was completed several years ago, but the cost and issues with land acquisition for a retention pond prevented the project from being done.

A couple of years ago, a Silver Beach Road Committee was formed to study the issue, at least in part due to encouragement by the Belgium Area Chamber of Commerce. After months of meetings, it was determined the village was too close to its debt limit to borrow the money to do the roadwork, and the issue was dropped.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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