West Bend BID turns down city’s offer

By RALPH CHAPOCO - Daily News

Sept. 17, 2017

West Bend officials made an offer to create a more enhanced look in the downtown area, but members of the Business Improvement District declined.

Members voted against a proposal from Public Works Director Doug Neumann during Tuesday’s meeting. It provided the chance to upgrade conventional light posts with decorative ones.

They decorative lights would have replaced the current ones along Main Street from Water Street to Poplar Street when city staff replace the lights next.

There are a several lights located along that street, some of which are made from concrete, that West Bend officials want to update.

“As some of you remember, a few years ago we reinstalled a wood pole in that location,” Neumann said. “The discussion was started with the city’s budget to replace these poles. There are three concrete poles that need to be replaced and the discussion started because we want to replace these with wood poles.”

As part of that process, Neumann said he wanted to inform Improvement District members they have the option to select those with an ornamental design similar to other areas in the downtown area.

City officials have allocated $14,000 for the project to replace the three concrete poles with wooden ones. The money will also upgrade the lighting to LED as an energy cost savings. The upgrade would have cost BID Board members an additional $95,000 had they elected to move forward with the project.

Neumann said the lights are shorter than the ones that are in use, so they must add to the four that already exist.

There are material costs associated with the poles, about $3,500 each, but the project also involves work along the public right of ways.

“The difference in the cost is replacing a lot of the sidewalk,” Neumann said. “The current poles are overhead wires. The decorative lights are all underground wires so it is removing sidewalk, curb and gutter and installing all those things.”

Board member Brian Culligan suggested the endeavor could serve as a test for providing information for the planned renovation for the other parts of the downtown.

“I think the pole idea is great,” Board President Mike Husar said. “My concern is what we are going to do with the sidewalks. We are going to spend the money to do the sidewalks without knowing what the plan is going to the north.”