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Janesville receives grant for new transit center

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Marcia Nelesen
July 24, 2012

— A new city bus garage appears to be a go now that Janesville received a $3.8 million grant from the federal government.

Dave Mumma, transit director, announced the grant at Monday's city council meeting.

The city has been working to raise money for a new building since at least 2005.

The city in 2007 bought 5.4 acres of land for the new garage at the corner of Black Bridge Road and Highway 51 at a cost of $350,000. At the time, the city estimated a new garage would cost between $5 million and $6 million.

Janesville needs a new bus garage because the one at 900 N. Parker Drive is worn-out and too small, city officials have said.

The latest cost estimate for a new building is about $7.65 million, Mumma said.

The city also received about $1.4 million in stimulus money in 2009. The remaining funds will come from local money and other federal grants the city has received in past years, Mumma said.

"It's something that a lot of people in the administration and that members of the community had put in time over the last several years," Mumma told council members.

"It's gratifying that it now appears we have the financial ability to go forward with this project."

OTHER BUSINESS

The Janesville City Council on Monday:

-- Heard a report from Tom Presny, parks director, on the emerald ash borer, which was recently discovered here and kills ash trees unless the trees are treated. Cost of treatment ranges from $75 to $200 depending on the size of the tree, and treatment must be conducted at least every other year.

The city council will have some big issues to discuss in the future, including whether to budget money to employ a city forester or contract with tree companies to remove and plant trees. The council must also decide whether to force homeowners with ash trees on city-owned terraces to remove the trees at their own expense.

The city must be forward thinking and work with homeowners to diversify the city's tree stock, Presny said. Many ashes were planted after Dutch elm disease decimated the city's elm trees.

-- OK'd a settlement of $100,100 to the widow of John Somerville, a parks employee who suffered a fatal heart attack while on the job in 2009. Somerville's wife filed for workers' compensation claiming her husband's death was employment-related, and she asked for the maximum allowed of $232,950. The city is self-insured through Cities and Villages Mutual Insurance, which denied the claim.

Somerville's wife appealed to the state. This settles the claim.

-- Agreed to build more than another mile of sidewalk recommended by the city's sidewalk committee and end the 2012 program.

The council allowed a maximum of a three-year delay for a segment of sidewalk along Wright Road.

The sidewalk committee had simply recommended the sidewalk be delayed until the segment was developed. The committee will continue to meet to make recommendations about the remaining five years of the program.

-- Allowed the Rock Aqua Jays to sell advertising to put on the bleachers in Traxler Park.



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