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After an intensive 14 month planning process the City of Onalaska is poised to begin construction on a project that will change the face of downtown Onalaska. The Great River Road/State Hwy 35 Streetscape Project will enhance a 7 block area of the Hwy 35 corridor just south of Elm to King Street, making the downtown area more attractive and friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Once complete this will revitalize the downtown shopping area creating a dynamic that is designed to attract more businesses. We are anticipating that ripples from this project will positively impact the entire City.
The City received a substantial Transportation Enhancement grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation grant, which will pay for 80% of the project’s cost with the City picking up the remaining 20%. With construction starting in the spring of 2012 the City is partnering with the Onalaska Enhancement Foundation to raise the City’s share of the project’s cost.
Donations can be made to the Onalaska Enhancement Foundation and are tax deductible. Fundraising booklets are available at City Hall, the Onalaska Library and the Center for Commerce and Tourism.
Compared to other waters in Wisconsin, there's pretty minimal restrictions on eating fish that come from the Mississippi river around La Crosse. New fish consumption guidelines from the DNR suggest additional restrictions are only necessary in the Mississippi pools around La Crosse when it comes to channel catfish . For all other fish, it's the normal advisory--especially for pregnant women and children--against eating too much. All Wisconsin waters are covered by consumption advisories because of excessive levels of mercury and/or PCBs.
New rules for road construction in La Crosse won't necessarily mandate additional sidewalks and bus stops . But they certainly could. The so-called Complete Streets ordinance is likely to get a vote next month by the city council. The ordinance will simply force city engineers to consider all forms of transportation when planning road projects. But there's some common sense that will come with the ordinance, says city engineer Randy Turtenwald. For example, he says bike lanes won't be created on streets too narrow to sustain them. On-street parking also won't be sacrificed in neighborhoods so that bike travel can be made easier. Complete Streets also requires the city to consider decreasing water run-off when doing road projects .
When the big, electronic sign went up on highway 16 in Medary, Rich Kastenschmidt was one of the first to notice. His bedroom faces the sign in his neighborhood by Hixon Forest across the highway from the sign. Kastenschmidt has been among those most vocally opposing the spread of additional electronic billboards in the city. Sign company, Olympus Media has been lobbying with Kastenschmidt and his neighbors to try and soften their stance against the highway 16 sign. Nice try, says Kastenschmidt, and he appreciates the effort. But, he says, not matter how Olympus tries to dim the lights on the sign, it's still a garish, ever-changing presence in his life. Those signs, says Kastenschmidt, don't belong anywhere in the city.
Plenty of those driving to work right now might ride their bikes instead. If only they could shower at work. La Crosse city employees may have that opportunity soon. The city's planning on spending some money to put a shower in the basement. City councilman Bob Seaquist says this is just the latest in community changes that make it easier to bike and walk to work. The shower's got a price tag but it's mostly getting paid for with a county health grant.