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New London considers capital spending projects

The city of New London plans to rennovate this trail along the Wolf River as a future capital spending project. John Faucher Photo

Boat launch, river trail, bleachers, trail bridge engineering among projects

By Robert Cloud

Members of the New London Common Council voted to approve more than $560,000 in spending when they met Feb. 7 as the Capital Projects Committee of the Whole.

Of that amount, $427,000 is for overflow parking and a pier at the city’s old street garage.

A trail along the Wolf River, running from The Waters Supper Club to Johnny’s Little Shop of Bait, is also included in the Parks and Recreation project.

The resolution stipulates that the Park and Recreation Department receive 50% state DNR funding for the project. The city also plans to help fund the project by using $58,000 in reserve funds from its boat launch fees.

“People are paying their boat launch fees and they like to see things getting done,” Treasurer/Finance Director Judy Radke said. “My suggestion would be to approve this be paid for out of assigned boat launch dollars because that is what they’re for.”

Radke noted that Park and Recreation Director Ginger Sowle was working to obtain state Department of Natural Resources grants for the project.

“What I would suggest you do is approve the project at $427.000 in anticipation of a grant that will be written to cover at least half of it and the rest of it come out of assigned fund balance,” she said, noting that Sowle needed city approval for the project and a plan in place before she could apply for the grants.

“If we don’t get the grants, then we can’t spend the money,” Sowle said.

Trail bridge

The city also plans to spend $63,300 for engineering and design of a Newton Blackmour State Trail bridge.

A Waupaca County Greenways grant is expected to pay 20% of the project’s cost, bringing down New London’s actual outlay for the bridge to $50,000.

Located over the Embarrass River on New London’s east side, the bridge ran into obstacles in 2022 after engineers said the bridge needed to be high enough to allow boats to float beneath it during a high-water event, but not so high that a bucket truck would be unable to access nearby power lines.

“I feel like we’re dumping a lot of money into this walking trail,” Ald. Tim Roberts said. “I feel like we already hit a brick wall by the DNR saying we can’t put one (bridge) there.”

Sowles said the DNR has confirmed that the site would be approved.

“We haven’t applied for the permits yet, but we met on-site with the waterways and floodways directors and they have said it’s definitely a site that would be approved,” she said.

City Administrator Chad Hoerth said the information that the DNR would not approve the site came from FEMA engineers. The DNR has since indicated that the site was something that could be worked out.

“This is $63.000 just to engineer it and then we’re going to talk about another $200,000 to build it,” Roberts said.
“The state has a lot of money right now that they want to put into silent sports like this,” Sowle said.

Council members approved all the capital spending projects unanimously except for the Newton Blackmour bridge. Roberts cast the sole vote against it.

Council members also approved $20,000 for two new bleachers and $7,000 for renovations of the ball diamond at Pfeifer Park.

In 2021, the Park and Rec Department was quoted $34,000 for a dump truck, which they ordered in early 2022. Due to vehicle supply chain issues, the truck did not arrive until recently and the price had risen by $25,000 due to inflation.

Other capital projects include barricades and a small equipment for the Public Works Department, an additional $25,000 for a zoning ordinance rewrite and $6,000 for stump grinding and clean up at the cemetery.

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