Crawford County Board hears Couleecap annual report, Board approves of County N reconstruction

By Ted Pennekamp

Couleecap Executive Director Grace Jones gave a presentation to the Crawford County Board at its regular meeting Tuesday morning regarding Couleecap’s Crawford County annual report.

Jones noted that with help from a grant from PDRI, Couleecap was able to update its signage at the Bargain Boutique  and the food pantry in Prairie du Chien. The new signs were installed in July of 2013 and are a better fit with the historic downtown district.

Jones spoke about several items regarding Couleecap. There were 137,823 pounds of food distributed in Crawford County to 1,276 different people. There were 805 Farmers Market coupons that were distributed to food pantry recipients.

Thirty-seven houses in the county received home weatherization. Eleven houses in the county received home rehabilitation services.

Couleecap’s homeless prevention program provides first month’s rent, eviction prevention, and utility payment assistance to county residents. One hundred forty eight people were assisted through the homeless program.
Couleecap employs four residents of Crawford County. Couleecap programs total $2,445,387 in services to county residents.

Couleecap has also been part of the Kickapoo Ridge/Crooked River Townhomes project in Gays Mills, which provides two and three-bedroom townhomes for low-income and market-rate households. Jones said the program has been very successful.

Couleecap has a transitional supportive housing program which provides limited-term affordable housing to homeless people and households who need assistance in returning to independent living situations. Participants may remain in the program for up to two years and must be willing to work on self-sufficiency goals.

Couleecap offers several different home ownership programs, employment and training programs, and transportation programs.

Another area that Jones touched upon was the percentage of students in area school districts who qualified for free or reduced meal programs in school. In the Prairie du Chien School District in fiscal year 2013, 45.8 percent of students were eligible for free or reduced meals. In the North Crawford School District, it was 57.9 percent. In Seneca, it was 64.7 percent and at Wauzeka-Steuben, it was 61.4 percent. Jones said that Couleecap is working to help alleviate this situation.

 In other business, the County Board approved of proceeding with the County Highway N project. Highway Commissioner Dennis Pelock gave a presentation to the board in which he explained that approximately two miles of County N in the Famechon Hill area will be reconstructed and widened for safety reasons. Pelock said that the county is in the process of planning for the project and seeking funding. The project is expected to cost $3.1 million.

Pelock said that approval of the project will give the owners of the affected parcels of land notice so that nobody will erect or locate structures on lands which will be affected by the proposed project corridor. He said that public meetings will be set up so that the county can work with the owners in order to avoid any potential conflicts. Pelock said that persons contemplating building  or developing are encouraged to contact him to determine if possible conflicts are present, and if any adjustments may be needed to their building or development plans.

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