From wrought iron railings to decorative stone work and landscaping, it’s all part of the $1.5 billion Highway 41 reconstruction project. Now an area lawmaker says enough is enough. Republican Jim Steineke of Kaukauna says if local municipalities want the special enhancements, they should pay for them. And he says that could save millions of dollars a year.
“It’s like the high speed Main Street of the Fox Valley,” said Wisconsin Department of Transportation U.S. 41/WI 441 Project Group Chief Brian Roper of the main highway linking Green Bay and the Fox Valley.
The Highway 41 reconstruction project in Brown and Winnebago counties is nearing the halfway mark. But already some completed portions are offering a markedly different view.”Stamped concrete, wrought iron railings, those are all things that I think we can agree look nice,” said State Rep. Jim Steineke.
But it’s a view Steineke says taxpayers around the state shouldn’t have to pay for. “These enhancements are nice, but not exactly something that’s needed. It’s the classic example of the government spending money on a want, not a need.”
Rep. Steineke says that’s why he’s introducing legislation Tuesday to take the spending authority out of the hands of the DOT. Representative Steineke says if local municipalities want to have then enhancements, they can pay for them.
“I don’t think statewide tax dollars should be going for local projects.” For example, the Highway 41 project has an overall budget of $1.5 billion. Of that the DOT is spending $21.4 million on aesthetic improvements to landscaping, bridges and overpasses. That amounts to 1.4 percent of the total project cost.
“It’s worth that extra one to two percent to give folks that extra sense of pride and extra sense of community,” said Roper.
Last September, FOX 11 On Special Assignment showed you crews putting in 172 trees, 640 shrubs and nearly 3,000 perennials in a median on Lombardi Ave. near Highway 41. “Whenever the public or the media gets involved and brings something to light, I think it’s incumbent on us to take a deeper look at it,” said Rep. Steineke.
DOT officials say while it’s not a critical part of the construction process, the enhancements add value to a project built to last.
“These bridges are meant to last 75 years, the roadway surface once we put it back down is intended to last over 40 years,” said Roper. Rep. Steineke says having municipalities pay for the improvements, if they choose, would allow the extra money to be used for other DOT projects.
“When we are looking at shortfalls like we are and we are going to eventually be looking at taxpayers to come up with more money through taxes or fees, I think we need to prove to them the budget is as efficient and as well spent as possible.” Roper says the DOT works closely with the public and local officials to make the design fit for the community. “It needs to be a sustainable investment and I think the department has done a really good job at striking that right balance.”
But at issue now, is who should pay for it. Rep. Steineke says he expects his bill will have plenty of bi-partisan support.
The Highway 41 project in Winnebago County should finish up this year. Work in Brown County is estimated to last through 2017.
Text from website Fox11, author Chad Doran
Wood: One of the most common types of fencing, wood can give properties a traditional look. However, the lifetime of wood fencing varies. Many types have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years and require regular maintenance, ranging from cleaning and sealing to painting. It’s important to understand the different types of wood and which are preferable for your purposes, tastes and climate. Bamboo is among the most recent newcomers to the range of fencing options. It is highly touted because it is considered environmentally friendly
Vinyl/composite: Often a top choice among homeowner associations in newer neighborhoods, this type of fencing tends to have clean, uniform lines. It also is a cost-effective option because it is easy to maintain; no painting and sealing required. In most cases, vinyl/composite fencing has a longer warranty than other types of fencing.
Metals: Materials in this category can include aluminum, steel and traditional wrought iron – an expensive but beautiful choice. These options are ideal if you want to establish boundaries on your property but would rather maintain your views. They also can be highly decorative and enhance the overall aesthetic of your property.
Brick/masonry: Though an expensive option, brick as fencing is appropriate for historic neighborhoods and more stately properties. It also provides a high degree of privacy and security.
What’s the purpose of the fence? Is it for privacy? To keep your kids and dogs in or another reason?
Are you allowed to have fence? If so, what type? Homeowners are responsible for checking with their homeowners association on types of fences allowed, verifying their property lines, having their yard checked for buried utility lines, etc.
Be a good neighbor: While it’s not legally required, communicate with your neighbors that you’re thinking of putting up a fence so they don’t learn of it only when they see it being installed.
Factor in maintenance: Your fence will lose its appeal if you don’t maintain it. Check your fence every few months for
splintering, peeling, mold, breakage and insects. Be careful with the weed whacker near the fence. Over time, that causes splintering and scratches which breaks the seal and encourages damage.
A quality fencing company should provide you with written estimates, a warranty on the work, as well as a product warranty on the materials.
A Master Lock and a silver Sharpie, in the hands of a cruder Casanova, never could have caused a fair maiden to well up with tears and hyperventilate. But then Dennis, a Belton firefighter and paramedic, is no run-of-the-mill Romeo. He knew exactly the kind of memorable marriage proposal that would melt his honey’s heart.
But let’s back up.
Just before Valentine’s Day, the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department began Red Bridge Love Locks, encouraging couples to “lock their love” on the old Red Bridge in Minor Park by snapping padlocks onto the wrought-iron railings. The purpose: to draw attention to the 80-year-old steel bridge in south Kansas City, and to the pioneer history that surrounds it.
Recently the city replaced the iconic bridge near Red Bridge and Holmes roadswith a new one, better suited to handle traffic over the Blue River. But instead of tearing down the original bridge, built in 1933 in what is now the Santa Fe Trail historic area, officials left it standing. Today it is more a piece of art, a pedestrian walkway.
When Dennis saw a TV news story about people putting locks on the bridge, he knew it was the perfect place to propose to the girl of his dreams, fellow Belton firefighter and paramedic Brandie Price.
The Raymore couple had known each other for three years, and the subject of marriage had come up.
But then Dennis, 31, was a sneaky sort. His 30-year-old girlfriend knew nothing about his intentions. In fact, he had purposely misled her, consistently making it seem he wasn’t quite ready.
Explained Dennis: “It’s no fun if she sees it coming!”
And she didn’t. He already had the ring. Now he had the place.
As for the time? Valentine’s Day marked the second anniversary of their first date. Perfect!
He bought a Master Lock and a silver Sharpie and set his plan in motion.
“On Valentine’s Day he had all kinds of surprises for me,” Price said. “When I got home from work that morning I found a dozen roses and a hundred-dollar bill inside of a card telling me to go buy a pretty dress for our date that night,” she said. “I didn’t know what our date was. He wouldn’t tell me. He’s good at those surprises.”
That day he came home early and surprised Price by taking her to the Culinary Center in Overland Park. They ate a six-course meal that included shrimp, short ribs, salad and strawberry tiramisu. After that they were going to pick up Price’s 11-year-old daughter, Abi, from Dennis’ father’s house and return home.
But not yet.
You see, Dennis knew something about his girlfriend that he would use to his advantage. She often fell asleep on car rides. And when she fell asleep on this car ride, he headed straight for the old Red Bridge.
She didn’t wake up until they pulled into Minor Park around 10 p.m.
“When I opened my eyes it was all dark outside, like we were in the middle of nowhere,” she said. “I had no idea where we were. When I asked where we were he took out his iPhone and pulled up the report that the TV station had done about locking your love on the bridge, and showed it to me.”
As they strolled toward the bridge in silence under a moonlit sky, Price couldn’t help but wonder what was going on. Then Dennis held out a gold box with a white ribbon that he had been hiding behind his back. He opened it to reveal a Master Lock with two keys. On the front of the lock he had engraved their initials, JD+BP, and the date, and traced over them with a silver Sharpie.
They picked out a spot together. “Go ahead,” he told her. “Put it on the bridge.”
“I thought it was the sweetest thing ever,” Price said. She hadn’t seen anything yet. As she pulled the lock out , he put his hand on top of hers.
“Turn it over,” he said with a gentle voice. She saw a two-word question: “Marry me?”
Price couldn’t believe what she was seeing. When she turned to look at her boyfriend, he was on his knees, holding out a ring.
“I knew it was a ring, but I didn’t even see it because my eyes welled up with tears and I started hyperventilating,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and I couldn’t speak. And Jason was just laughing.”
“So I guess this is a yes, right?” he said. Price just started nodding. They hugged, and he put the ring on her finger.
“Then we put the lock on the bridge, and he had me write my answer on the lock with the Shapie,” Price said.
“Yes!” she scrawled.
Finally he pulled out the keys.
“This lock comes with two keys,” he said, gazing into her moistened eyes. “And the way I see it we have two choices. We can either each keep one of the keys, or we can decide that the lock is going to stay on here forever, and each of us can throw our key into the river.”
Those keys are now deep under water.
“He did a wonderful job!” she said. “I can’t imagine anything sweeter.”
Heidi Downer, a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation department, is gratified that couples are taking to the new lock tradition.
“It’s kind of this international phenomenon,” she said. “From what I can gather, it started over in Europe and has made its way to the States. We are just excited that this tradition has begun in Kansas City, and we look forward to seeing more locks and symbols of love.
“And although we started this just before Valentine’s Day, this is something people can do year-round. It’s a great way to commemorate an anniversary or engagement, a wedding or whatever.”
The tradition even could make the Parks Department some money. A company called Lock-itz (lock-itz.com) which makes custom-crafted commemorative locks, is donating 15 percent of the proceeds to support Kansas City parks.
Any way you go, Downer said, the locking tradition is nothing but an upper for Kansas City.
“It’s adorable,” she said. “You can go fancy with engraved names on a customized Lock-itz lock, or you can take a Sharpie to a Master Lock.”
And what of Brandie and Jason?
While they haven’t set a date yet, they want to get married sometime this summer.
On the old Red Bridge, of course.
Source kansascity.com, Author: James A. Fussell
The plans for Titanic II have been unveiled, revealing there will be three classes, the same food menus, period costumes and identical interior decoration.
The man behind the adventurous project, mining tycoon Clive Palmer, revealed his plans for the boat at a press conference yesterday.
‘Titanic was the ship of dreams, Titanic II is the ship where dreams come true,’ he said.
Passengers can choose to stay in the lavish first class cabins or experience the Irish drums, stew and shared bathrooms of third class.
‘That’ll be where the most fun will be,’ Palmer said at the conference.
‘For me that’s the great adventure. I can sit down there, have some Irish stew, talk to somebody and at night I can get up and do the Irish jig. It’ll be a great place to be.’
Each passenger will also get a period costume relative to which class ticket they hold.
40,000 people have reportedly already registered for tickets to be on the maiden voyage, with Palmer saying people ‘want something a little bit different, an experience.’
‘We thought it would have a lot of appeal. We didn’t know how much appeal, but certainly we’ve found it’s had enormous appeal. And financially very strong as well … it’s going to be a blockbuster.’
One of the top 100 richest men in the world, Australian Palmer will be funding the project himself, but declined to comment on how much it is estimated to cost.
Whilst the exterior and interior will match the original 1912 Titanic as closely as possible, there have been a few mod cons added such as a 400 seat theatre, a casino, air-conditioning throughout, and obviously some safety improvements.
The ship will have 18 modern lifeboats, with the capacity of carrying the ships 2,435 passengers and 900 crew members.
Markku Kanerva, the director of sales for marine design company Deltamarine, who are overseeing the project, told reporters at the press conference that Titanic II would be ‘the most safe cruise ship when it is launched,’ ironically mimicking the claims of an ‘unsinkable ship.’
The vessel is due to set sale at the end of 2016, following the same route from Southampton to New York.
The project has raised criticism, being dubbed ‘morbid’ and disrespectful to the 1,523 people that were killed when the original ship sank in 1912.
The Wilson City Council, which oversees the stadium as part of the city park system, agreed to provide $187,500 toward the estimated $532,500 cost of improvements. During a recent meeting, Councilman James Johnson III said the project is a good move because 65 to 70 percent of the cost will be paid for with outside funding.
“When I go into the stadium, I go into yesteryear,” said Councilman Donald Evans. “I do know there’s a lot of need for upfitting that stadium.”
BB&T and the Wilson County Tourism Development Authority each committed $150,000 during the next two years and the N.C. Baseball Museum, located at Fleming Stadium, plans to provide $45,000. The Wilson Tobs will also sign a 10-year lease with the city of Wilson, an agreement that’s valued at $150,000.
Mayor Bruce Rose said the project is an opportunity for the city to upgrade the stadium, which was built in 1939 and contains its original grandstand. Some recent improvements were made, including new stadium lights and ceiling fans in the grandstand.
“Aesthetically, we had to make improvements,” said Greg Suire, Wilson Tobs owner. “It will truly reenergize this facility.
“We want to make Fleming Stadium a bedrock of the center city of Wilson where we can use this facility for other things than just baseball. We need to make sure we keep Fleming Stadium and the center city vibrant and relevant.”
The chain link fence surrounding the front of the stadium will be removed and replaced with a wrought iron fence and brick pillars. New brick buildings will be added on each side of the ticket booth and a sunshield will provide a covering between the entrance and the grandstand.
The building on the right will house a new concession area, which will have a nearby seating area. Landscaping will be added to the front, as well.
The building on the left will have items from the N.C. Baseball Museum, which will be prominently displayed from windows and display cases. New restrooms will also be added. The existing baseball museum will remain in its current location, near the Wilson Tobs office at Fleming Stadium. The front display area for the museum will be a new feature anticipated to increase visitor traffic by tenfold, said Robin Hauser, director of sales and marketing for the Wilson Tobs. The area will also allow for more space for the museum, which is in need of an expansion.
“Hopefully, the museum will increase the interest of fans,” Suire said. “We want to properly present the N.C. Baseball Museum’s partnership with Fleming Stadium.”
A BB&T sign will be displayed at the entrance, along with Wilson Tobs and Fleming Stadium signs. The Wilson Visitors Center will also be advertised.
The Wilson County Tourism Development Authority supported the project because of its potential in drawing visitors to Wilson and the stadium.
“It’s a great plan and, I think, it’s worthy of our participation,” said Bowie Gray, chairman of the tourism board. “It would improve the facility tremendously. This will help the neighborhood. It will help the baseball museum as well.”
A timeline for the project has not been set but some landscaping improvements could be seen within the next several months, Suire said. Project plans, including architectural drawings, will need to be created as well as a construction contract that will be reviewed by the Wilson City Council.
The changes are anticipated to provide improvements in the Five Points neighborhood area where the stadium is located, at 300 Stadium St., Hauser said.
The improvements are also an effort to help make the stadium a location for more events throughout the year, including a training location for college baseball teams, said Thomas Webb, Wilson Tobs general manager.
“We want to make Fleming Stadium in Wilson a destination,” Webb said. “This is the start of getting away from our traditional schedule to make it year-round.”