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Federal grants fund Niagara equipment, sidewalk upgrades

Niagara public works employees show a new end-loader and implements purchased with the aid of a $150,000 grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. From left are Jamie Oratch, Jim Stachowicz, JJ Coppens, Matt Zanon and John Henrichs. (Karen Klenke photo)

NIAGARA, Wis. — The city of Niagara has successfully pursued grants in 2021 to meet equipment and infrastructure needs, receiving $453,986 for sidewalk construction on Roosevelt Road and $150,000 for the purchase of an end-loader.

“The grants have been so important in upgrading the quality of services that we can provide,” said Audrey Fredrick, city administrator-clerk-treasurer. “It’s been an exciting and productive year for us in that aspect, and we are so grateful for the funding opportunities.”

The city has more grant award improvements coming, including a John Deere power mower, a squad car and enhancements to the police department evidence processing room, Fredrick said.

The public works equipment grant recently was announced by Julie Lassa, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development acting state director in Wisconsin. It’s funded through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program that helps residents in rural areas build or improve infrastructure and purchase or replace equipment.

The new end-loader replaces a 1983 machine that has required frequent costly repairs of parts that are no longer being serviced. This project will also include a bucket, forks and plow coupler to help provide the city with the necessary tools to continue plow and maintenance services for its 1,624 residents.

“Modern infrastructure and equipment is the cornerstone to the success of any community, especially in rural areas,” Lassa said.

For the sidewalk project, the city applied for $453,986,000 of the $900,000 Marinette County had available through the Community Development Block Grant-Close Program, Fredrick said.

Projects eligible for this funding must be located in communities with a greater than 50% low- to moderate-income population. Niagara put the grant towards the construction of a sidewalk on the north end of U.S. 141/Roosevelt Road from Dewey Street to Jefferson Avenue.

This will offer increased safety and better pedestrian access, Fredrick said.

CDBG funding is administered by Wisconsin’s Department of Administration’s Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Development.

Acting on behalf of the Marinette County Board, the executive committee signed off on the CDBG application submission. County Administrator John Lefebvre was instrumental in the application and approval process, Fredrick noted.

Cedar Corporation of Green Bay provided project engineering and F.A. Industrial Services of Iron River was awarded the project as a general contractor.

The village of Wausaukee received the balance of the county’s CDBG funds.

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