BRF Leaders Agree Gordon Street Needs Repairs

Black River Falls Street Department Supervisor Todd Gomer fills a tank Tuesday to haul to Clifton and Forrest streets to water down gravel and keep the dust in check. He said de-watering of Gordon Street should begin next week if all goes as planned.

Dennis Jelinek, shown in front of his home Tuesday, has lived on Gordon Street for 45 years. He looks forward to a reconstruction project for the street which is long overdue, he said.

Gordon Street resident Dennis Jelinek said though he didn’t like how the city handled a reconstruction project at first, he is happy knowing that it is moving forward and hopes it will alleviate the “river of water, sand and grass clippings” the street turns into during heavy rain.

If all goes as planned, “de-watering” will begin on the street next week, Street Department Supervisor Todd Gomer said. Then comes reconstruction and sewer work.

“At first they didn’t handle it right because they kept promising they’d do it,” Jelinek, a 45-year-Gordon Street resident, said of the city’s failure to get the project going. But they didn’t. Jelinek started a petition, gathering about 60 signatures, asking Black River Falls’ leaders to make the street a priority.

The city listened, he said. That’s a relief for Gomer. “I hope I don’t have anybody upset anymore,” he said Tuesday while pointing out issues with the street that cause runoff and water back-up problems. Plans were made to fix neighboring Forrest and Clifton streets before Gordon, leaving neighbors upset. Gomer encouraged citizens to go to city meetings and they did, which got the ball rolling. “They actually know everything that’s going on now.”

Then came rain, rain and more rain, which seeped its way into the construction project before it even began.

The Common Council was given good and bad news in the same announcement from Gomer that there was a fix for the street’s issues, but it would come at a cost.

A company could be brought in to de-water the area and make things workable, but the city would have to pay $20,500, putting the street department over budget. Gomer stressed that the Gordon Street project was the biggest concern for his department at the time though as the de-watering needed to happen before any construction could take place and there wasn’t much of an option to put it off.

The official decision from the Common Council had to be put off until the next meeting, leaving the residents waiting for an answer.

At a council meeting July 6 it was time for the council to make a decision, but one question lingered.

“How will we pay for it?” Alderperson John Ross said.

The new project was set to put the Street Department over budget, but City Administrator Brad Chown said it would still remain within the city’s planned borrowing.

The council approved it in hopes crews could get back to work.

Jelinek hopes once the project is complete his neighbors don’t have to worry about sewage backups and he doesn’t have to worry about his home when he goes on trips.
Stephen Knoll & Jennifer McBride River Valley Media Group / Jul 12, 2017