Construction work as part of Beaver Dam’s downtown revitalization efforts began in earnest Thursday.
Workers were out on a sunny day with machines to begin the tree planting process downtown. By next week, there will be new trees up and down Front Street along the sidewalks where there were bricks, joining large planters and new benches.
“We wanted to wait until late in the year so we were not planting the trees during the hot, dry, sticky season,” said Richie Piltz, the director of facilities and engineering for Beaver Dam.
At the same time, the pedestrian path near American Bank will be improved with stamped brick and decorative lighting. The path leads to a new small park behind the bank, 115 Front St., that is next to a structure with the McKinstry’s mural.
Forward Contractors is completing the work with local workers. In all, the work downtown will cost roughly $100,000. That’s much less than what was set aside for landscaping earlier in the year.
The trees will not live forever and will eventually need to be replaced. They are being spaced to avoid interfering with car doors.
Earlier this year, the Common Council approved $580,000 in capital borrowing to be used for downtown revitalization projects in 2018, including the new landscaping, facade improvements for businesses and the purchase and demolition of buildings downtown. The council also approved funds for road projects and to finish a skate park at Patrick Conley Park.
The city’s community development committee recently recommended that the city make an offer to buy two buildings downtown: 120 Front. St., which most recently housed Martial Arts America, and 111 W. Maple Ave., where there used to be a dry cleaning business. Both buildings currently are vacant.
The details of the proposed offers, ironed out in closed session meetings and which still need to be approved, have not been disclosed. However, the original idea with planning to buy and demolish buildings with revitalization funds was to make way for a landscaped path to the new Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre Building.
Mayor Becky Glewen and other city officials have proposals for projects downtown and elsewhere, but the Common Council approves borrowing for such projects one year at a time.