Infrastructure plan includes dollars for Platteville fire station, roads, wastewater improvements

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — City of Platteville leaders are poring through a wish list of more than $60 million worth of infrastructure projects to determine which the municipality can afford to finance over the next five years.

Those include a new fire station, street projects and wastewater treatment plant refurbishments, but even with an influx of millions of dollars in federal aid and borrowing, the city cannot reasonably expect to finance all items, City Manager Adam Ruechel said.

“Every year going forward … we will continue to update this,” he told Common Council members at a meeting this week.

The city allocates about $700,000 annually for infrastructure projects and large purchases such as police squad cars.

In the coming months, officials will develop the city’s 2022 budget, which will draw from the items in the infrastructure plan, spanning the years 2022 through 2026. Those not undertaken for lack of money will be considered in the following years.

City staff tentatively have allocated $13 million in 2024 to the Platteville Fire Department to finance the construction of a new station. The current facility at 275 E. Main St, built in 1964, lacks on-site parking, decontamination rooms and showers, and sufficient space for gear and apparatus storage.

The city recently acquired for $1 a potential site from the Platteville School District at O.E. Gray Community Learning Center.

City staff also submitted an $8 million request to the office of U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, which was selected as one of 10 earmarked projects that is included in the 2022 budget bill currently under consideration in Congress.

The remaining dollars would come from $3 million in city borrowing and $2 million in donations and contributions from townships in the fire department’s service area.

Two years ago, Platteville leaders estimated the station could be constructed no sooner than 2027.

Bill Kloster, a member of a citizens group that has spearheaded a fundraising effort for several years, said he is more optimistic the project will come to fruition than when he started.

“Platteville cannot support on its own, nor can we raise enough in donations, to do a facility of this type,” he said. “We’re trying to minimize as much of the impact on the citizens and get as much as we can through state and federal grants.”

Fire Chief Ryan Simmons could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

City leaders also are considering $23.5 million of proposed street projects, the largest of which is storm sewer replacement on Water Street, planned for 2025.

The majority of the $9 million project, which stretches from U.S. Business 151 to Pine Street, would be funded through a federal grant along with city borrowing.

Next year, the city plans to reconstruct Cedar and Hickory streets and Gridley Avenue at a cost of about $1.3 million.

The city’s wastewater treatment facilities also require refurbishing at a cumulative cost greater than $6.8 million over five years.

“Our wastewater plant is … a state-of-the-art facility, but it also was built in the ’80s, so we are now hitting the point where we have deferred projects,” Ruechel said. “Unfortunately, when we have to do an upgrade or a change to our system, it is not cheap.”

Platteville also recently received the first of two federal stimulus payments through the American Rescue Plan Act.

In all, the city will receive $1.26 million, and officials intend to spend it on City Hall renovations, the expansion of the city’s security camera system and the reconstruction of Main Street from Preston to College drives.

“There are many possible places that it could go,” said Council Member Ken Kilian. “I think what we’ve selected are good items.”