De Pere chipping in on South Bridge Connector
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – The De Pere Common Council voted unanimously Aug. 17 to spend $3.8 million as the city’s share of the South Bridge Connector interchange project, a 50/50 cost split with Brown County.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is including the interchange in its widening project of Interstate 41 between Appleton and De Pere.
The DOT is responsible for the interchange itself, while the county and City of De Pere are responsible for the portions from the interchange to Lawrence Drive and Innovation Court.
Alderperson Jonathon Hansen said it’s a good example of how monumental a project such as the south bridge corridor is.
“As you can see, it’s $7.6 million just to go from I-41 to Lawrence Drive, and for all of those who would like this project to go faster, it’s impossible for local and municipal governments to fund the entire thing themselves, so we are going to need some federal and state funding,” he said.
He urged constituents to reach out to their state and federal officials to support the project.
COVID rates increase
The rate of positive COVID tests locally is 8.6%, De Pere Public Health Director Deborah Armbruster said.
“That’s considered a high transmission rate,” she said addressing the common council.
Because of the high transmission rate, the annual fire department and health department open houses slated for late September have been canceled.
On the plus side, local vaccine clinics have been well-received, with the turnout at events, such as the De Pere Farmers Market and local beer gardens.
“Some people actually said they came to those because we were giving a particular vaccine they wanted,” she said.
The most in demand, the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is in limited supply at the moment, Armbruster said.
Pfizer is also in demand because it’s been approved for kids 12 and over.
Full FDA approval for coronavirus vaccines and booster doses is expected any day now, Armbruster said.
“Booster doses have been approved for those who are immunocompromised, and we expect approval imminently for everyone to get a booster dose,” she said.
Clinics for flu vaccines will begin soon, too, Armbruster said.
Incentives from businesses partnering with the De Pere Health Department, including Seroogy’s, The Green Room Comedy Club, Hagemeister Park, The Bar and Graystone Ale House, have helped spur people to get vaccinated, she said.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to:
• Award a contract of $34,075 to Northern Pipe, Inc., for manhole repair and replacements.
• Alter its policy on public meetings, such as if something conflicts with the usual date of a common council meeting, up to one meeting per month could be rescheduled to a convenient time, rather than the default of the following day.
• Change the city ordinance regarding “peddlers, solicitors and transient merchants” to require them to obtain a state seller’s permit from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, if their business involves making taxable retail sales. They must also obtain all permits and licenses or other approvals required by the state that relate to their business activity.
• Commend the De Pere Legion Baseball for its Class AAA State Tournament title Aug. 1 in Plover, beating La Crosse 1-0. It’s the team’s fifth state title.