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Money for Edgerton Ave. work hopeful

May 28, 2014

Greenfield — Some progress is being made on averting a snag that could cost Greenfield millions of dollars.

The problem is that $2.8 million in expected state funding for rebuilding a portion of Edgerton Avenue might not be there. And, the city might have to repay a $688,000 grant it received for the design work for the project from South 27th Street to Loomis Road.

Normally, once cities receive a design grant, they can expect another grant to help with actual construction, said Richard Sokol, director of neighborhood services. In this case, the construction grant would be $2.8 million.

However, the rules changed for construction grants since Greenfield's design grant was given in 2011, and the project is now unlikely to win construction funding, said Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke.

So, not only would the city be stuck with the entire $3.5 million construction project, but it would have to give the state back its $688,000 design grant if the road isn't done in 10 years, Sokol said. Of that design grant, probably $250,000 has already been spent, he said.

The funding situation leaves the city in a bad place, Neitzke said.

"The problem is we have invested a lot of money in engineering and gone to two neighborhood meetings," he said.

Losing funding would mean other roads that need work would have to wait longer because of the city put funneled into Edgerton Avenue, he said.

In a meeting Tuesday with Milwaukee County officials, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and other municipalities, Sokol said he found a ray of hope.

Describing himself as cautiously optimistic, Sokol said, "I'm hopeful some reasonable compromise can be reached. All the parties involved in this issue have been working well together. I'm delighted to see the cooperation."

If things continue to move forward, the city could still get a substantial portion of the full 80 percent grant it expected for the project, Sokol said.

Construction of Edgerton is slated for 2017. Land acquisition will be required to widen the road in places to accommodate five-foot wide bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides, Sokol said.

The project also includes installing islands to slow traffic down. Problems with speeding are expected with the wider road, he said.

"You can't speed on a bumpy terrible road," he said.

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