Bridge ‘really important to this community,’ city admin says
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville Streets Committee recommended the city make the estimated $7,000 to $10,000 in repairs to reopen the pedestrian bridge by the community center.
Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland told the committee at its June 27 meeting that the city received the estimate from the engineering firm MSA Professional Services. MSA would not be bidding on the repair work.
Eveland said it was important to receive an estimate from a company that would not bid on the repair project. The two previous bids the city received were from companies that also do that type of repair work.
According to the assessment prepared by MSA, there are concerns about the long-term viability of the bridge, Eveland said.
Eveland added that the assessment also states that if some repairs are made to the fencing on the bridge, the bridge could be reopened.
The necessary fencing repairs are estimated to cost $7,000 to $10,000. An assessment would then be needed every year to inspect for further deterioration.
MSA recommended replacing the bridge. The cost to do so is estimated to be $90,000 to $100,000, Eveland said.
“We really do need to look at a full replacement of this bridge if we want to keep the bridge there,” Eveland said.
Removing the bridge, which has been closed since July 2017, would cost $10,000 to $20,000.
Eveland told the committee if it wanted to repair the bridge, the Clintonville Finance Committee would determine if there are funds available from the city’s capital account.
Committee member Brandon Braden asked if there is a need to spend $7,000 to $10,000 to repair the bridge, saying it would only be a temporary fix.
“The practical person in me agrees with you,” Eveland said. “But I also know that this bridge is actually really important to this community. We’ve definitely gotten a lot of calls.”
She added the city’s vision for that area is for a riverwalk to be added in the future.
“Having those pedestrian crossovers would be nice,” Eveland said. “So I think long term we’re probably still looking at a full replacement, but that could be 15 to 20 years down the road before we could ever really do what we want to do with that area.
“I think $7,000 to $10,000 to give the community something that they’ve been asking for, I think, is well worth it.”
Braden asked if the city would have to pay an annual fee to have the pedestrian bridge inspected.
Eveland said Waupaca County could perform the inspection. She added the city has to have all of its bridges inspected annually.
“We’re not going to be paying $2,500 every year like we did for this (assessment),” Eveland said.
Braden asked how long the bridge is expected to be structurally sound if the repairs are made.
Eveland said MSA’s assessment did not include that information. She added repairing the fencing would not impact the structural integrity of the bridge.
Committee member Steve Kettenhoven said he would hate to have the city make the fencing repairs, only to find out in a year the structural integrity of the bridge would force its closure again.
“I agree with both of you, that’s a lot of money,” committee member Tammy Strey-Hirt said. “But I think that’s the chance we should take and have to take because it makes the people of the community have something good in their eyes and perspective. There have been lots of people who have been very upset about that bridge because it’s a part of Clintonville.”
Eveland said the city cannot afford to replace the bridge now.
Clintonville Mayor Richard Beggs said the pedestrian bridge is important to Clintonville, and the city has to stop shutting things down and not reopening them.
“We have to start adding back to our value, to our overall appearance,” Beggs said.
He added that the parking in the parking lot by Erickson Pharmacy is inadequate.
“I think this bridge serves a very useful function,” Beggs said.
He recommended approving the minimal repairs needed to reopen the bridge.
The committee recommended to the finance committee that it find up to $10,000 to make the minimal repairs to the bridge. Jim Supanich was excused from the meeting.