Sweet Soo

The last Sweet Soo roof was installed in 2015. A new roof covering over the remaining two passenger cars was approved last week.

The Ladysmith Common Council voted 5-0, Monday, Aug. 24, to approve spending up to $77,830 to install a new shelter over the two remaining passenger cars at the Sweet Soo outdoor train exhibit outside the Rusk County Visitors Center and Rail Display.

The city received one bid from Verdegan Construction, the Ladysmith firm that did work on constructing the previous shelters over the engine and two other passenger cars.

Funding for the project will come from revenue generated by Tax Incremental District 9.

The bid includes $74,830 to match the other structures and another $3,000 to include aluminum fascia for all sections.

The council was questioned for approving the spending with only one bid received, but it was pointed out the bid is less than what it cost to build the prior two shelters combined.

The bid does not include a possible extra expense of adding a flagger from Canadian National as the display is located next to the Barron Sub rail line running to sand mining facilities to the west.

“We need to find out if they are going to need a flagger when they are on that side of the tracks,” Public Works Director Kurt Gorsegner told the council. “They didn’t the last time, but we had other local guys who were working with CN.”

Previously, the city financed shelters over the Sweet Soo engine and one passenger car.

Verdegan altered the engine shelter originally built by the U.S. Army Reserve. It later built the first passenger car shelter.

Bid documents state the display’s elevation rises as it nears the end. This could require moving the last car and lowering the tacks slightly to keep the roof line straight.

“There is only a foot-and-a-half clearance,” Gorsegner said.

Ald. Bill Morgan does not think lowering the display will be difficult to do.

City officials are seeking ways to spend TID revenues as deadlines near on spending these dollars collected on taxable properties within TID boundaries. TID money can only be spent on projects enumerated in TID planning documents.

Gorsegner said it is difficult to find contractors in the area capable to taking on this type of large project.

“Based on previous bids, this is a fair bid. It is less than the other two combined. Seeing that materials are even higher now than they were. Based on those things this is a fair bid in my opinion,” Gorsegner said.

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