Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. and the city are in the planning stages for a projected $8 million makeover of the streets and infrastructure downtown within two years. The first bit of funding for the effort might be coming in.
City Administrator Blaine Oborn said they've heard from the Department of Agriculture...
"....we're potentially getting $1.2 million grant from U.S.D.A. It's going to be one of their 'star' projects for Earth Day if we accept it. It has to have (city) council approval so we won't know for sure until April 14. If they do it as recommended, we would commit to a 2015 build..."
Oborn says that would be for the sewer portion of the project. The city would need to match that money, likely with some type of low-cost loan. But the city council would need to approve the grant paperwork at it's April meeting. Original planning was a 2016 construction time. The city is also working with Town and Country Engineering on the underground infrastructure upgrade.
Regarding the above-ground portion of the re-do, Gary Becker of the design firm Verbicher says the initial public meeting to get input will be held April 30, likely at the Hext Theater downtown...
"....we want to take into consideration any local issues or local concerns..."
A follow up public meeting for the streetscape project is set for July 23. Becker says they will take input at the public meetings in April and July to work toward a final presentation in September.
A website updating information in the process will soon dedicated to the downtown water, sewer and streetscape project, roughly from Frederick street on the north to Anderson street, including Brown and portions of Stevens Street.