Option with decorative paving overwhelmingly favored in online voting
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Online voters have spoken and the majority of Rhinelander City Council members listened to them Monday when it came to the design of the Brown and Davenport Street intersection.
The intersection, which is part of the construction work taking place downtown for the Streetscape project, initially had plans calling for a design in which public works director Tim Kingman said couldn’t be done as bid out because there wasn’t enough clearance with a subsurface vault located there.
“That vault is carrying fiber optics,” he said. “It would be very, very expensive to move it.”
Kingman said he then worked with the designers of the intersection to come up with four potential layouts for Brown and Davenport with options for colored pavement or stamped concrete that could meet the original intent of the Streetscape design. He also noted he came up with a questionnaire for the general public, which could vote online for the four options.
“(The vote was overwhelming) that they would like to see the more elaborate presentation of stamped concrete crosswalks and the bump-out sections,” he said.
The city sent out a press release Thursday announcing the online voting, for which the results would be taken into consideration for a final decision at Monday’s council meeting. According to the results provided at Monday’s meeting, out of 258 votes, the decorative paving for crosswalks and bump-outs received 183 votes, or almost 71 percent of the total.
No decorative paving received 29 votes (11.24 percent), followed by decorative paving in the crosswalks with 24 votes (9.3 percent) and decorative paving in the bump-outs with 22 votes (8.53 percent).
Though he didn’t present specific figures as to how much the preferred intersection option would cost, Kingman said it would be within the project budget to do that work.
However, Kingman cautioned council members that the wear and replacement of that type of concrete surface “is something that’s not easy to manage over time.”
“What is being envisioned here for materials and purchase is good,” he said. “However, there is a long-term expense and difficulty with replacing this.”
Kingman and street superintendent Tony Gilman both noted the potential for damage at the intersection, such as with snow removal.
Council member Steve Sauer questioned the use of stamped concrete at intersections in the city.
“We’re admitting it’s not going to last,” said Sauer, who also noted there no were cost estimates included with the four intersection options presented in the online voting for Brown and Davenport Street.
Council member Mark Pelletier took exception with Sauer’s remarks, pointing out that stamped concrete isn’t called for at every intersection with bump-outs in the Streetscape project, and made the motion to approve the option favored by online voters.
Council members approved the motion on a voice vote with Sauer and Alex Young dissenting.