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Resolution will prevent future attempts to realign Germantown Road

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The city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen brought some finality to previous efforts to realign Germantown Road through Germantown’s Central Business District.

Board members unanimously approved a resolution on Monday night that will prevent future attempts to shuffle the road. The ordinance also blocks future efforts to extend Forest Hill-Irene Road north of Wolf River Blvd.

Mayor Mike Palazzolo said the realignment would be “inconsistent with the longstanding commitment of the board to the preservation of the character of commercial and residential districts of the city when addressing the need for the safe and efficient movement of traffic through and around the city.”

Board members agreed in 2016 to remove realignment from the city’s Capital Improvements Plan.

The city also returned $2.4 million to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Once currently budgeted MPO funds are released, it is usually four or five years before the plans can be resubmitted for funding.

However, the city’s new resolution states that “any future realignment of Germantown Road and extension of Forest Hill-Irene Road northwardly across the Wolf River and the city’s north boundary is inconsistent with the longstanding commitment of the board and should not and will not be implemented by the board, which has the sole authority with respect to the expenditure of city funds.”

In 2016, the MPO adopted the 2017-2020 Transportation Improvements Program that removed the road realignment project from “any future funding.”

Palazzolo said the resolution was adopted to make the board’s “opinion known to the citizens of the city.”

The realignment plan became controversial after a series of public meetings were held in 2015. Several residents and business owners expressed concern over the large project, which aimed to make Germantown Road a continuous route through the city’s central business district.

Citizens complained that the project would drastically change Old Germantown.

The project would have realigned West Street and Old Germantown Road to create a new signalized intersection with the realigned Germantown Road, just north of the existing railroad crossing.

Two existing buildings would have been demolished. Construction was originally planned for the 2018 fiscal year.

Realignment of Germantown Road, immediately north of the railroad tracks, with West Street was first proposed in 2007 to “decrease traffic congestion and make conditions safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

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