April 6, 2009

Sixth Street's Oct. 31 completion date
won't stop Party on the Pavement on Oct. 3

Sixth Street at last year's Party on the Pavement

The rebuilding of Sixth Street has begun, not to be completed until Oct. 31. But despite all the previous sturm und drang about that lengthy schedule forcing cancellation of Party on the Pavement, Racine's annual street celebration will take place as well. On Saturday, Oct. 3.

How's that, you ask?

Well, it's like this: Although work to construct a new roadway and sidewalk on Sixth from Main Street to Grand Avenue may not be finished by that first weekend in October, the roadway itself will be done. All that may be left to do is landscaping, streetlights and what-have-you. So, as the mayor and public works director have said in the past, the party will go on.

If you don't believe me, then feel free to attend a pre-construction meeting with A.W. Oakes & Son, the contractor, along with representatives from WisDOT and the City of Racine at an informational meeting on April 9, at 3 p.m. in Room 130, City Hall Annex, 800 Center St.

We talked to Devin Sutherland, executive director of the Downtown Racine Corporation -- the celebration's unofficial partymeister -- who reminded us that the Main Street project itself hadn't actually been completed at the time the city held its first Party on the Pavement. "The first one, we still had 4-way stop signs sandbagged at all the intersections because the traffic control signals hadn't arrived yet." Sutherland said the complete Sixth Street project "may not be done until sometime in November, but they will not hinder Party on the Pavement."

Kris Martinsek, public information officer for the Historic Sixth Street Project, sent out the first newsletter about this year's effort today. She notes that, "Although Oakes had floated ideas for alternatives, only one construction work plan and schedule was submitted for approval. As proposed, the project begins April 6, and must be completed by Oct. 31." Those "floated" alternatives talked about closing the entire street for months, to expedite the project. Instead, one lane of traffic will remain open throughout the project's construction, with the exception of five days for the installation of a storm sewer main during Phase two, sometime in May or June.

Below is the city's first construction report and project timetable:
With installation of utilities completed in 2008, the work to construct a new roadway and sidewalk and to install the planned streetscape elements along Sixth Street west to east from Grand Avenue to Main Street has begun.

Time Warner Cable and AT&T have been doing some advance work to alter utilities for the project. AT&T began work near College Avenue and Time Warner Cable began work near Wisconsin Avenue. Their work should be completed by April 10.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has awarded a construction contract to A.W. Oakes & Son of Racine. On April 3, Oakes and their subcontractors met with representatives from WisDOT and HNTB, the firm hired to oversee construction, to review the project scope and schedule. Although Oakes had floated ideas for alternatives, only one construction work plan and schedule was submitted for approval. As proposed, the project begins April 6, and must be completed by October 31, 2009.

► Stage One begins immediately and includes traffic control and mobilization by the contractor who will deliver equipment, materials, construction trailers, etc. and set up on the jobsite. Construction begins on the north side of the street where a portion of the sidewalk will be cut back to create 100 foot long temporary loading zones. The loading zones will be restricted to delivery vehicles and short term parking (up to 15 minutes) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Longer term parking is allowed evenings, after 6 p.m. and all day Sunday. The south side of the street remains open to one lane of westbound traffic.

► Stage Two is scheduled to begin late April and continue to mid June. The south side of Sixth Street will be closed to traffic, old concrete removed, the storm sewer main installed, and the new roadway constructed. The temporary loading zones on the north side and five feet of sidewalk on both sides will remain open. The north side of the roadway will be open to one lane of traffic during this stage with the exception of five days when the storm sewer main is installed. Its location in the middle of the roadway necessitates a full street and loading zone closure while the work is done.

► Stage Three sees traffic returning to the newly completed south portion of the roadway as work begins on the north portion. This stage should run from approximately mid June to late September.

► Stage Four begins when the roadwork is complete in late September with a deadline for completion of October 31, 2009. Sidewalks will be constructed with brick pavers, new signals and lights will be installed, and streetscape work completed. (Some sidewalk work will overlap with the other stages where possible.)


  1. Devin Southerland IS NOT, NEVER HAS BEEN and NEVER WILL BE the party meister of Party on the Pavement. His job downtown didn't even begin until well after the first POP was done and on the books. The rest of this story is good. thanks for the update.

  2. 'ZACTLY!!!!! That's why Racine Co. moved out since he was holding them back! He doesn't know how to start things, only finish them and take the credit! He was definitely a Becker croney.

  3. former DRC member4/07/2009 8:37 AM

    The DRC uses POP as their fund raiser. Sponsors put up the money for street closure, merchants put out entertainment and food and the DRC makes thousands of dollars off these peoples' efforts. Don't get me wrong, Party on the pavement is great, and we all look forward to it but the DRC does not act like a non-profit. They try to turn all events into ways for them to profit.

  4. Not only that, but the business's on 6th have gone through hell the last couple a years with all this bullshit construction....screw this and screw the drc as well

  5. John P. Crimmings4/07/2009 4:53 PM

    I am amazed and more than a little ashamed at the comments here. I, along with many, many others have invested much time and effort in working to make Racine a great place to live. Devin Sutherland is one of the best things that has happened to Racine and we were truly fortunate to get him. If you know him, you will know what I mean. DRC is the reason Downtown Racine is the wonderful place it is. I'm sure that most of you don't remember what it was like just a few years ago. It was not a pleasant place to spend much time and merchants were begging for traffic. Now it is a showplace that Racine residents can be proud of and to show off to out-of-town visitors. DRC, Devin, business owners, building owners and countless volunteers are responsible for First Fridays, Second Saturdays, Music on the Monument and a host of other events designed to get people Downtown and shopping at local businesses. Party on the Pavement is a celebration of survival and a chance to see the wonderful infrastructure improvements that are so long overdue. I'm sure some of you will find fault with that but those of us who want to see Racine flourish and prosper find this exciting. For the record I do not own a retail business in the Downtown area and I am not part of local government. I am a resident of the City of Racine, pay local property taxes and take sincere joy in seeing Racine's Downtown, Lakefront (including the Oasis and North Beach)and the other great neighborhoods spring to life as we head into summer. I do own a business that sells Racine every single day to local residents and out-of-towners alike. And believe me, it is a much easier sell than most nay-sayers would want you to believe. I truly believe that if people who complain about this City spent one-tenth of their effort in positive pursuits, Racine would be even better than it is now. But, as we know, it is easier to complain and to be anonymous. Well, I for one am proud of what I do and in the city I choose to do it. As such I have no problem signing my name..

  6. Did any of these "genius" city "leaders" think about what a nightmare the fireworks traffic will be on the night of the fourth of July?? 100,000 people coming off of Pershing Drive onto 6th street are going to travel in what direction??? North on Lake Ave.???? LMAO, piss my pants. A bunch of numb nuts "leaders" in this city, I swear to god.

  7. Hey Anonymous 5:42-Can you be a bigger idiot?

  8. two words

    Market Maturity

  9. BTW, Sutherland isn't a Becker crony. He's a Johnson Crony.

  10. I'm constantly amazed at the ignorance shown on these posts. Come on Pete and Dustin, can't you attract a little smarter crowd?

  11. As a local business owner and resident and merchant I have to agree with most of John Crimmings posting. I had long wondered why Racine couldn't understand that the best natural asset was the Lakefront. I grew up in "Tourist" area on Lake Michigan, and am glad that Our city has now embraced our Lakefront and the Downtown. I look forward to each First Friday and try o keep it special, and exciting.and the clients coming thru seem to really appreciate it too. I also make it a point to support my fellow Racine businesses with nearly every purchase I make. So Support those businesses on 6th St this Summer and every business in Racine. It will improve our economy and help reduce unemployment, and change the face of Racine to the rest of the world.

  12. former DRC member4/08/2009 11:03 AM

    Mr. Crimmings and Ken, downtown Racine is a destination, hands down, totally agree. All we are missing is the promotion of our downtown and lake front. The message I was trying to make was not against downtown or even the DRC. It was against the leader of the helm. Devin is a nice man but leaves a lot to be desired in the way he manages the corporation and events. I am one of the merchants who are financially invested in downtown. My neighbors are who are truly getting the events started and going. We appreciate and desire anyone who works toward the good of the whole, not just one man trying to justify his salary. I think the marketing of downtown needs to be re-thought out. As it is, DRC is all we have and it's a members only club.

  13. All that is missing is a route to and from Downtown that is not ghetto like?

  14. Downtown Brown4/15/2009 12:39 AM

    Anon 3:39 Sorry I just read your post about the need for Downtown Routes!! I and others have been banging this drum for a while now!! Smoothen, widen and improve Hwy 20. Tear down the north half of Uptown, and widen to 2-3 traffic lanes, parking and bike lanes with a Garden boulevard and sidewalks..it would not only be beautiful, but Smooth and efficient. Build a divided Boulevard from the Junction to City Hall where you would enter the Round-about with a floral centerpiece and a tall Flag pole in honour of John Labre! (Dover Flag Man). I'll help buy and plant the flowers, and the Pole and flag if I can afford it!

    How can we fix West Racine you may ask?? Well thank you for asking..I have a suggestion for that too! Let's make the current Hwy 20 "one way" heading East along the current route, and run the West bound to the North or the South, a half block. Ample parking for both directions and smoother flow of traffic all the way thru our City. Bikes pedestrians and most importantly CARS!!

    Similar plans should be considered for Hwy 38 heading from State and Main to Hwy K, (This route is nearly done just a few improvements around Spring and Lincoln area would complete it).

    And finally continue to improve the approach from the South along Racine St. A nice Roundabout at the intersection of 31 and Hwy 20 would be great and another one at 20 and Marquette. Smooth flow of traffic, Beautiful approaches. and long term LESS expensive than directionals..Really LESS expensive! But the Ghetto feel is almost impossible to avoid unless you open Uptown.. You can't go around it, so u have to go thru it! The few displaced businesses could easily find new homes in Downtown, West Racine, Uptown South and even Junction St could become a neat little pub district. (I've always thought the old brick storage buildings, would make a cool antique shop or Spaghetti Station restaurant!) But I digress, and many of those "Art" places could rejoin the Heart of Arts area on 6th St. Ta Da!!! city beautiful, buildings full!! Jobs created..Racine's reputation gets to be First class.
    And beyond accumulating and Razing the Uptown bldgs. it's not that much money.. Hwy 20 is gonna be rebuilt over the next few years any way...and guess what it connects to tht INTERSTATE, yes the Interstate where the people with cars drive!! and then they can get to our city..and not have to take a Bus, to Train to another train, and get off at State st. and take another Bus or Trolley..just to buy a piece of Art and have a Coffee!!

    Everything I just proposed could be done for MUCH less money than Racine's Share of the KRM...and I guarantee it WILL actually be used. It will actually be needed, and will actually improve our community and our economy!!

    We can't finish it all in 2 weeks.. but in 2-4 years, isn't too much of a stretch.