In This Together case study - WIS 22 Clintonville, Waupaca County
Any urban project involving a main thoroughfare presents
difficulties in terms of inconvenience to the public; in a small
community like Clintonville, these projects are often perceived as
having the potential for very serious economic effects.
While the community almost always sees the project as a very
necessary and positive improvement, the prospect of customers being
unable to reach small, locally-owned businesses and the potential
negative impact on travelers and tourists can also be the impetus
for considerable apprehension and negativism.
The Clintonville project involved reconstruction (including
replacement of underground utilities) of an eight-block segment of
WIS 22 (Main Street), through the commercial heart of the city.
Early on in the design phase, it became apparent that design and
construction factors were going to present significant obstacles
that had to be overcome.
Because of the scope of the work, it would be necessary to
completely close WIS 22 for the duration of construction - a period
of six months. WisDOT, its design consultant, the city of
Clintonville and the Main Street business community realized the
necessity of working together to make the project proceed smoothly
Starting early in the design process, designers met with
Clintonville officials and the business community to discuss
potential problems, possible solutions to those problems, and
practical and aesthetic design details. The business community and
the Chamber of Commerce worked actively with their membership and
met regularly with designers. Block captains were appointed from
affected businesses and given the task of keeping other businesses
on their block informed. They also carried concerns from the
business owners to the project designers and the city.
Numerous features that were suggested and approved by the
business community and the city were incorporated into the final
plans for WIS 22. In addition to the normal number of public
meetings, efforts were made to keep the local newspaper staff well
informed and to present project efforts in a positive light.
At the start of construction, an official groundbreaking was
held, demonstrating a high level of state and local government and
community support. The local newspaper printed and distributed maps
showing its readers how to get around with the detour in place. The
newspaper also agreed to print a weekly feature article on the
progress of the project.
From the start of construction, the contractor and WisDOT's
project engineer held weekly meetings to keep the community informed
of ongoing activities and the schedule for the future. As the
project progressed, these meetings became daily contact with
designees from the affected businesses and it was widely publicized
that the project engineer and his staff were available to discuss
the project and answer concerns at any time. Engineering staff
visited all of the affected businesses along Main Street at least
The business community worked with WisDOT and the city to find
ways to lessen the impact of the project. A number of innovative
ideas designed to draw business were used, including the use of
indoor/outdoor carpeting for "sidewalks," the scheduling
of a weekend tournament on the "world's longest sand volleyball
court" prior to paving, to other events culminating with a
ribbon cutting ceremony.
Complete with a parade down WIS 22, the ribbon cutting was
attended by then-Governor Tommy Thompson, former Transportation
Secretary Charles Thompson, other state and local officials, and a
crowd estimated at 1,500. After the new roadway was dedicated, the
community held a street dance and cookout, which appeared to be
attended by most of the citizens of Clintonville.
As a result of these efforts, Clintonville's Main Street project
gave the community an attractive and functional thoroughfare, the
impetus to take part in the statewide Main Street revitalization
project, and a real sense of pride in what a community can
accomplish by working together and "making lemonade when given