Partnerships Help Downtown Brillion Improvements Move Forward

Posted on Apr 18, 2018 by

The City of Brillion is nestled between Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago in Calumet County. Being centrally located 25 miles from Appleton, Green Bay, and Manitowoc, makes Brillion a great location for quaint living with easy access to larger urban areas. Brillion is also home to several major employers, including Ariens Company, Endries Manufacturing, and Professional Plating. The City has its own Redevelopment Authority (RDA), whose top priority is eliminating blight and enhancing the downtown business district.

The City has conducted many studies over the last ten to twenty years, trying to develop concepts for improving the downtown district and addressing space needs at City Hall. Efforts were ramped up in recent years, after a grocery store moved out of the downtown Hub Shopping Center, a nearly vacant strip mall. The concepts did not move forward primarily due to lack of funding.  Modifications have been made at the City Hall to try to accommodate Administrative Staff, Police, Fire and Ambulance.  The Council Chambers were even converted to Police Department offices and the City Council now meets at the Community Center.

In 2016, the City was introduced to McMAHON’s newest affiliate company, Integrated Public Resources, LLC (IPR). IPR was formed to provide small to medium-sized communities with innovative alternatives for project delivery using Public-Private Partnership (P3) concepts. IPR was hired by the RDA to conduct a study to evaluate the City’s needs associated with the downtown district, while addressing the feasibility of utilizing IPR and P3 project delivery to make the improvements come to fruition. McMAHON and IPR worked with the City and the RDA to develop several different concepts for an improved downtown district, including a new City Hall and multi-family housing.

After many meetings with Mayor Gary Deiter, Administrator Lori Gosz, City Staff, City Council and Commissions (RDA, Utility Commission, and Plan Commission), the City gave IPR the green light to develop a proposal for constructing and financing a new City Hall. At this time, the City was also approached by a local business owner, Bob Endries, about the need for additional local housing for their employees. Endries promoted the concept that an attractive City Hall and downtown were vitally important for attracting and retaining new employees. Other key industrial employers in town, like Dan Ariens, concurred with this sentiment. To help the improvements move forward, Bob Endries and Dan Ariens donated $50,000 for the acquisition of the prior grocery store property. This donation was matched by the RDA. McMAHON surveyed the entire site and prepared a Certified Survey Map (CSM) that was necessary for the site to be divided for the planned improvements.

With the initiative of the RDA, and backing by a strong business community, Brillion has been able to cultivate a vision for revitalizing its downtown. McMAHON was able to help with the visualization aspect of the process. In Spring 2017, McMAHON’s Geospatial Solutions team utilized drones to acquire survey data in the downtown district. The data was used to generate a point cloud, and subsequently handed to architectural designer Steve Knuth and designer/drafter Greg Kettner who quickly created renderings and a 3D video flythrough using a Revit model. The flythrough was a key component in securing buy-in from all parties for an ultimate downtown improvement plan that included a new City Hall, multi-family housing, outdoor pavilion, green space, and other enhancements. Currently, IPR is requesting bids for construction of the 6,200 square foot City Hall, and other improvements like the housing are anticipated to begin later this year.

WEDC Grant Award Announced at a Press Conference on March 29th.

A $250,000 Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant has been awarded for the downtown improvement project. The funds will be used for clearing the existing site and for infrastructure improvements related to the project. The grant application was managed by Mary Kohrell, Community Economic Development Director for Calumet County, with extensive guidance from McMAHON’s funding specialists Tammy Scott and Amy Vaclavik.  McMAHON staff also provided technical input for the application including project description, construction schedule and opinion of probable costs. The developer of the proposed apartment buildings that is part of the downtown improvement plan has applied for WHEDA Housing Tax Credits.

McMAHON has provided professional engineering services for the City of Brillion since at least the 1940’s and has been the City Engineer exclusively since the mid-1990’s.  Over this time a strong relationship was developed, built on dedicated service and trust. Several major successful projects have been completed during this time, including improvements to the City’s wastewater treatment and biosolids management facilities, drinking water supply and treatment systems, stormwater detention basins, development and implementation of an Infiltration/Inflow reduction program, and many annual street improvement projects.

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