The purpose of the project is to improve the road for truck traffic into the Caledonia Business Park.
Caledonia resident Wayne Guillien said in a letter to the editor in February that he was a proponent of “intelligent development” and encouraged the village board to look at other alternatives that offered “access to the industrial park without passing through residential areas.”
Guillien asked the board to look at two alternatives: adding in access on the east side of the business park next to the north-south railroad and connecting to Northwestern Avenue, and installing a road from Highway H, north of the Prairie Pathway subdivision and intersecting Nicholson Road at Industrial Drive.
The Public Works Committee looked at both alternatives, but they would have cost the village $5.4 million and $6.4 million. The current plan would cost the village $1.5 million to build, which is why the village is moving forward with the plan.
Construction is expected to begin this spring. The project is part of a tax incremental financing (TIF) project leftover from the Unico project, which was approved in September 2012.
A TIF district is a development tool municipalities can use to attract business.
Gov. Scott Walker approved the grant on Tuesday last year. The request was part of a tax incremental finance district the village approved in September 2012 for the expansion of Unico Inc., which is based in the Caledonia Business Park.
Editor’s note: This version of the story removes the reference to a state grant the Village expected to receive. Caledonia village president Bob Bradley said the village decided not to go with the grant because it would have required them to put in curb and gutter, which would have increased the cost of the project. Unico was unable to commit to increasing its staffing levels, which was a condition of receiving the grant. We’re also in the process of confirming their current staffing levels with company officials.