Council tours parks, projects
But city staff and Janesville City Council members enjoyed themselves Saturday on a five-hour bus tour of projects and priorities throughout the city.
The tour gave new council members a chance to see what they will be working on and a chance for staff to update the whole council on ongoing plans.
“What I got out of this tour was that we are not isolating all of our energies in one area of the city,” said new council member Kathy Voskuil. “Wow, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on … Every area has something going on that has the potential for growth of the city and for future economic growth.”
The big-ticket item on the tour was the city’s wastewater treatment facility on County D on Janesville’s south side. The tour also looked at parks, buildings scheduled for demolition and sites of future construction.
A couple of sites have been in the news a lot lately, like Riverside Park and the $140 million hospital proposed by Dean Health System and SSM Health Care of Wisconsin on the city’s southeast side.
“I felt really good, because there are a lot of exciting things that are happening in Janesville,” new council member Yuri Rashkin said.
Renewing wastewater treatment
This summer, city staff will propose two options to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which had a 20-year expansion in 1986.
The upgrade will cost about $30 million, City Manager Steve Sheiffer said. The council will have to decide whether to do the project in one shot or break it up into smaller pieces.
The $30 million proposal will be the largest capital project the city has taken on since the plant was last upgraded.
The plant treated 17 million gallons of wastewater per day last year. It sometimes peaks at 30 million gallons, said Dennis Egge, superintendent.
With this wet spring, the plant has been averaging up to 26 million gallons daily, Egge said.
The plant can handle the extra capacity, Egge said, but it does strain equipment.
A $30 million investment will ensure adequate capacity, Sheiffer said.
“That’s crucial because of the need to create jobs and continue to put clean water back into the river,” he said.
Wastewater treatment facilities are typically “capital intensive,” Sheiffer said. The city spends about $3 million annually to maintain the plant.
It would cost about $150 to replace the plant, Sheiffer said.
A watery discussion
The tour cruised through Riverside Park and past Rockport Pool, among other parks and recreational areas.
This summer while the council is deciding how to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant, city staff will also bring forward plans for upgrades to the city’s aquatics facilities.
The council will consider plans to renovate and maintain the wading pool at Riverside Park or to build a splash pad at the park. It also will consider options to renovate Rockport Pool, Sheiffer said. Costs are not available for either project right now, he said.
“You will be on the spot in August,” Sheiffer said to council members.
Cleaning up the place
The tour swung by two aging buildings that could be torn down this year.
The former Accudyne property, 340 Rockport Road, is owned by the city and scheduled for demolition, possibly yet this year.
The parking lot will be removed, and the spot will become green space on the bank of the Rock River.
Not far away, on Center Avenue near the Five Points, the tour looked at the former Connor Supply building. Hendricks Development has plans to tear down the building and build a neighborhood strip center that could include a grocery store, a restaurant and other retail shops.