City hears complaints about downtown alley

CITY COMMISSIONERS listened to complaints on Monday about the condition of an alley in downtown Madison (above) where the pavement has broken down to a granular surface. Neighborhood property owners said city officials should hold utilities responsible for the break-up of the pavement and asked the city for upgrades to the alley.

City commissioners listened to complaints during their Monday meeting about the condition of a downtown Madison alley. Property owners have concerns that the alley's surface has deteriorated from pavement to gravel.

Denise Fjerstad and Rod Goth, both property owners, spoke to the Madison commissioners about the condition of an alley that runs between N. Van Eps and N. Egan avenues, between Great Western Bank and Surplus Store-Pawn Shop. The alley's surface has deteriorated from pavement to a current granular condition.

According to Fjerstad, the property owners next to the alley thought they had an understanding that the city would maintain the alleyway after it was paved.

Mayor Marshall Dennert said he had spoken to the city engineer, Chad Comes, about the alley. When asked about the cost of repaving the alley, Comes provided a rough cost estimate of between $80,000 to $150,000. Comes added that he hadn't found any agreement between the city and property owners concerning the alley's maintenance.

Comes said city officials could consider placing the alley pavement improvements onto Madison's infrastructure improvement plan. Dennert suggested that commissioners could consider the alley-improvement issue during upcoming budget sessions.

According to Comes, property owners could petition city officials to perform upgrade work.

Both Fjerstad and Goth told the commissioners that the city should hold local utilities responsible for the deterioration of the alley pavement. Goth spoke about drainage problems and water pooling up on his property. Fjerstad said conditions in the alley were particularly bad during winter months.

Dennert said the Madison residents interested in having the city perform upgrades should return to meet with commissioners when the 2021 budget is assembled. The commissioners appeared to agree with that plan.