The Tomah City Council approved capitol borrowing for a TID 8 project and a TID 10 project during the council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

The project in TID 8 consists of new street lighting. The estimated cost of the project is $700,000, which is eligible for TID reimbursement.

City administrator Roger Gorius said there are two reasons for new lighting.

First, the current lights could be considered a safety hazard, and second, the new lights would be more aesthetically pleasing.

“With ice and wind, the tops get heavy and ... the structures themselves have been there for a long time,” Gorius said. “Aesthetically they add to the downtown. We’re hoping that they’ll increase pedestrian traffic ... we’re just trying to get a more aesthetic feel to the downtown, trying to attract people and make the town look prettier.”

The new lights are dual lights, Gorius said. One branch shines over the streets themselves and the other shines over the sidewalks.

Installation will take place later this year, depending on when spring weather arrives, Gorius said. As soon as the weather clears, the city will begin the installation process.

In TID 10 the project is to reconfigure Goose Avenue to meet a Department of Transportation mandate and to completely reconstruct the roadway and add water and sewer lines to Gopher Avenue.

Gorius said the road projects are due to the construction of the new Tomah Health campus and Gundersen Clinic.

Because of the expected traffic increase on Goose Avenue and the severe corner from Hwy. 16 to Goose Avenue, the DOT has ordered the city move the corner back and install a de-acceleration lane and acceleration lane, Gorius said.

Gopher Avenue has to be reconstructed to accommodate infrastructure and the impact of heavy construction equipment on the roadway, Gorius said. The only change to Gopher Avenue is a slight widening of the street.

The road projects will be paid for through the borrowing. Gorius said the water and sewer work is capable of generating revenue and it’s eligible for TID reimbursement. Also, the city has agreements with the hospital, which will contribute up to $425,000 for the utility improvements and up to $775,000 for the road improvements.

In other business:

  • The council approved the closure of the 800 block of Superior Avenue for portions of the days on July 4, 11 and 18 and Aug. 1, 8 and 15 for a summer concert series hosted by the Tomah Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.
  • Tomah Area School District superintendent Cindy Zahrte spoke at the meeting about the school board’s referendum to exceed state revenue limits by $1.5 million per year from 2020 to 2023. The referendum is April 2.
  • The board approved an ordinance shrinking the Long Range Planning Committee by one member.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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