Peter French of the Prescott Area Food Pantry talked about the plan to expand the facility using Community Development Grant Funding at the Sept. 12 meeting of the Prescott City Council. Photo courtesy of Prescott Community TV
Prescott Food Pantry facility project bid approved

Construction will start in October, council also Oks plan to map new road

PRESCOTT – The Prescott City Council approved a contract Monday, Sept. 12 with Market & Johnson on the project to expand the Prescott Area Food Pantry in the building purchased by the city last summer.

The project will also include additional meal preparation space and COVID testing in the facility, located at 911 Pearl St. The building has housed the food pantry, which is in need of additional space, for several years. It formerly was the pool and community room for the adjacent former River Heights Motel.

Cost of the construction project is $1,208,340. Construction and acquisition of the property is being done with funds from a COVID-related Community Development Block Grant program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

Planning for the project was started in early 2021 when the building that houses the food pantry was put up for sale. The city initially was given a grant in the amount of $944,000. When construction bids this spring came in markedly higher, the city received approval for an additional $494,100 in grant funding. Initial construction bids expired, so the project had to be bid again. There was still a shortfall, so the city went back to the DOA and has received verbal approval for an additional $200,000.

The total grant funding to pay for the project is $1,663,700. Because the construction bids were set to expire again Sept. 14, the city council had to take action on the project with only a verbal commitment from the state at this point.

“The state did verbally commit to that,” said Renee Swenson, who coordinates grants for the city’s engi- neering firm, Cedar Corp. “However, there’s no signed contract at this time.”

She said the state has funding coming back from other communities who were awarded grant funding but it went unused.

Construction on the project will start in October and will wrap up by March 31, 2023. However, some kitchen equipment may not be available to be installed by then.

“Due to the lead time for kitchen equipment and such, we may need to extend that,” she said.

Mayor Rob Daugherty said the city needs to get the project underway with just the verbal agreement of the DOA.

“We plan on moving forward with the project, even though it’s not signed. That state has said we’re good with that. If we don’t do that, we’re going to be playing games again. The bid will expire. That’s why we want to move forward with the project. The state is firmly committed to the funds, worst-case scenario, we’d have to come up with $200,000. Just so everybody knows that’s why we want to move forward with it, so we don’t keep playing, ‘bid this, ask for more money,’because sooner or later, that’s going to end,” Dougherty said.

If that additional state money were to not materialize, the city could cut back the project if need be, Swenson said.

Prescott Area Food Pantry Director Pete French said the additional space is much needed.

“We’ve done wonders down there. We’re set to take care of Prescott,” he said.

The other bid received was from Ebert Construction, which was slightly higher at $1,237,000.

The council vote to move forward with Market & Johnson was unanimous.

New east corridor

The council unanimously approved a contract with Cedar Corp. for $2,500 to amend its Comprehensive Plan with a new route to run from 570th Avenue to an extension of Pine Street.

The city currently has a bypass mapped on its plan that would run from Hollister Avenue/560th Avenue north where Sea Wing Boulevard is.

The plan commission has discussed the road options at several meetings. If the originally planned bypass were to be developed there, it would have been extremely costly, as it would require a bridge 1,000-feet in length and 100feet high to traverse ravines north of there. The initial cost estimates for that road ranged from $11 – $16 million, because of the bridge. The plan commission looked at three other options for road locations. The preferred one starts from just east of 1242nd Street.

The original location of the bypass also would have auected plans for expansion of the Great Rivers Subdivision, which plans to develop 49 more lots.

The original bypass would have been built in cooperation with the state Department of Transportation and it would have been developed to move travc from high ways 10 and 29 to Highway 35. The new road would only be two lanes and would be built as property is developed in that area. The road would tie in with the original plan to intersect with Highway 10 and head north through the city’s Eagle Ridge Business Park to meet Highway 29 and County Road F.

“What we were looking for was a corridor that did not have the challenges of the big vertical crossings of the ravines,” said Greg Adams of Cedar Corp. “We looked at the challenges of a 1,000-foot-long bridge that’s very tall to cross some of those ravines, and it seemed very costly, incredibly costly, for what we feel could be a better route that’s more in tune with a phased-development approach.”

“It’s a fraction of the cost of what it would be to put that bridge in,” said Daugherty. “It appears it’s a good route.”

Adams stressed that no location for the new road is set in stone now, but the city needs to update the Comprehensive Plan. “The route is more of a route in concept. This thing could move several hundred feet this way or that way,” he said. “I don’t want people to get too fixated on its exact location, but in general, that would be an area we would favor. With planning subdivisions in the future, we would look at having a contiguous right of way through there. That’s the goal.”

Alderperson Thomas Oss commented, “I personally agree with what you came up with. It’s a much-more cost-euective route to get travc to the north and to (highways) 29 and 10 and take some of that pressure ou. Otherwise, Hollister will become a freeway. It’s going to be controversial. There’s going to be a lot of trouble with various folks that are going to be auected by this. I’m sure the conversation will be robust and active.”

September 20, 2022