Janesville City Council rejects road project
The Janesville City Council on Monday:
-- Unanimously authorized city administration to apply for a $25,000 matching grant to fight the effects of the emerald ash borer on public lands throughout Janesville.
Parks Director Tom Presny said $10,000 of the $50,000 total will go toward treating 200 affected trees and the remaining $40,000 will be spent on planting new shade trees on public land.
-- Councilman Russ Steeber asked for another member of the council to join him in drafting an ordinance banning road construction before 7 a.m. Steeber said he has received numerous complaints about early morning construction.
The Janesville City Council on Monday rejected a proposal to build a roundabout at the intersection of Milwaukee Street and Wuthering Hills Drive, seemingly closing the book on the issue.
A June 2008 study of the intersection conducted after a 2007 fatal accident there recommended a roundabout be constructed.
In July of 2009, the state Department of Transportation awarded the city a grant totaling $421,000 to pay for the project.
The plan has been in limbo since December 2011, when a motion to approve relocation of the city's right-of-way to make room for the roundabout failed by a 3-3 tie. A second vote to release the $421,000 back to the state in 2009 also failed by a 3-3 tie.
Faye Bohman lives at 4206 E. Milwaukee St., at the intersection of Wuthering Hills Drive and Milwaukee Street. She said she was outside at the intersection the day of fatal accident.
"I cannot see putting a roundabout there," Bohman said. "You're going to take my hard-earned money paid into taxes to devalue my home. I think that money for the roundabout should go to a much better cause."
Council members Jim Farrell, DuWayne Severson, Deb Dongarra-Adams and Matt Kealy voted against the motion to relocate the city's right-of-way to make room for the roundabout.
Opponents of the measure cited budgetary concerns, a general leeriness toward roundabouts and a feeling that other, more dangerous intersections deserved attention before the Milwaukee Street intersection.
Council members Sam Liebert, Kathy Voskuil and Russ Steeber voted in favor of the measure. All three pronounced safety as a primary concern. Steeber said his vote was an "investment in the future."
"With growth will come congestion," he said. "This is something we will have to revisit again."
After the measure failed, City Manager Eric Levitt said the next step is to release the grant funds and inform the DOT that the city is axing the project.