Patrons walk out of Sal’s Pizzeria near one of the
new bike racks on Main Street on Tuesday afternoon
in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News
Members of the Downtown Business
Improvement District Board toured the heart of West Bend on Tuesday
morning without leaving the comfort of the City Council Chambers.
Jackie Kohn of Kunkel
Engineering Group acted as tour guide as she figuratively walked the
board members along a large map of Main Street pinned to a wall in
the council chambers, noting various spots for improvements, such as
benches, informational kiosks, dog watering and waste stations, and
trash and recycling cans.
Engineering also submitted a report to the BID that evaluated the
existing infrastructure on Main Street from Walnut Street to East
Washington Street, which was determined to be in “fair condition.”
It noted the last major reconstruction was in 1980 when the current
pavement, walkways and electrical system were installed.
shows signs of deterioration in the form of cracking and rutting,
indicating need for repair. The brick pavers, functioning as
sidewalk and crosswalk, have settled and broken with time, likewise
signifying time for replacement,” the report states.
President Mike Husar, co-owner of Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds,
said if everything could be done on the board’s “wish list” it would
amount to about $1.5 million.
Administrator T.J. Justice said outside funding sources should be
explored and suggested that some of the “lower ticket items” could
be incorporated into the BID’s operating plans over the next few
years while looking for additional funding.
Husar said it
was his opinion that “not everything is a function of the BID.”
curbs and gutters and walkways, you wouldn’t go into a neighborhood
and ask the neighbors to pay for it,” Husar said. “I don’t know if
in clear conscious, I could say to the BID to come up with $1.5
million when those things are really the responsibility of the
Husar said if
the BID wants something like adding color to the pavement, it should
be up to the BID to cover the difference in cost for the coloring
but the price of infrastructure replacement shouldn’t “be up to just
the building owners in downtown to pay for.”
member Herb Tennies said the present condition of the city’s
utilities in the downtown worry him.
underground utilities been looked at so that if all this work is
done that Main Street won’t have to be ripped up again because of a
problem with the utilities?” Tennies asked.
the city incurred some unplanned expenses when it revamped Old
Settler’s Park on Main Street when some electrical conduits had to
be replaced. He recommended planning for contingency funds to be set
aside for such incidents.
suggested the BID take their dream for downtown to the Common
“I think once
you get a consensus on the BID board on what exactly you want to do,
and you have a plan, it should be presented to the council,” Justice
“I commend you
for your leadership in getting the concept plans to this point,”
Justice told the board members. “Now it’s a matter of doing some
public outreach to get people comfortable and cozy with the plan.”
reminded the board “there is no rush here.”
won’t happen overnight,” Justice said.
Husar said the
time is right to work on ideas for improving downtown, even though
those ideas may not come to fruition for five or six years.
“Now is the
time to start, even if it’s for five years down the road. Because if
we don’t begin now, it will be another 10 or 15 years,” Husar said.
The BID board
may have the proposed downtown improvements as an action item on the
agenda for its February meeting with the intent of taking the plan
public through meetings and other means to get feedback during the
spring of 2016.
Reach reporter Linda McAlpine at