Thiensville - The Thiensville Committee of the Whole on Monday held off approving a Main Street improvement project until a decision can be made on whether to do something about the power lines that span nearby Pigeon Creek.
As it stands, the improvement project includes a wall along the west side of the creek, a municipal parking lot between the old fire station and the Reuter's building to the north, landscaping which would turn the area just south of the new parking lot into new park space, and improvements to the Green Bay Road bridge that spans the creek.
The total cost of the updates is approximately $412,000, which the village would "borrow" from the 2013 Main Street water project fund, and pay back into the fund out of next year's capital budget - in keeping with Thiensville's "cash only" method of funding public projects without using debt.
Committee members commented that the power lines spanning the creek may mar the view created by the improvements, though they balked at the roughly $10,000 cost of removing one pole and two crossings or the nearly $86,000 cost of burying the lines altogether, which would require easements from nearby property owners and the installation of new transformers on the ground.
"It wasn't easy to find a solution (to the power line problem)," said Public Works Director Andy LaFond, "or cheap."
Village President Van Mobley urged trustees to consider the two options.
"This is part of the brand you're building," Mobley told the committee. "You need to think very carefully on what you're going to do."
Mobley argued that just because Thiensville residents get used to the lines doesn't mean others will.
"You may think they won't, because you don't," he said. "But the outsiders will. They will see it, and they will remark about it."
Committee members said they need to have a look at the power lines before they could think about committing village money.
"I need to go see it," commented Trustee John Treffert.
The COW is expected to make decision on the power lines at its early April meeting and make a recommendation to the Village Board. Construction on the project is slated for the spring and summer months, with an expected finish date of late August.
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