Village of Osceola, Wisconsin Presented American Crown Community Award

December 31, 2006

Growth and development in the historic Village of Osceola, Wisconsin, located on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, was straining the community’s 100-year old municipal infrastructure.

The Village’s wastewater treatment plant was a focal point of that pressure. The plant needed upgrading to accommodate ongoing growth and to protect the St. Croix River, a federally designated wild and scenic river.

In 2001, the Village asked SEH to begin the facility planning and design process required to upgrade the treatment plant. In September 2002, those plans changed dramatically when heavy rains, compounded by a failed earthen dam and an undersized box culvert with exposed utility lines, flooded Osceola’s downtown. The situation became even more disheartening to the community when erosion and other downstream damage caused the destruction of a historic 1800s-era dam, mill pond, and Class II trout stream, all of which were important components of the community’s identity.

From that point on, the Village embarked on an unanticipated journey that began with asking SEH to study replacing the troublesome box culvert, and ended with a complete renovation of the infrastructure serving the Village’s historic downtown, as well as the wastewater treatment plant. Although nature struck a potentially disastrous blow, the Village, SEH, state and federal agencies, residents, business owners, and contractors worked together to turn that blow into a springboard to a highly successful downtown improvement program which could serve as a prototype for other communities facing similar challenges.

SEH provided planning, design, and construction services for:

  • Dam replacement and mill pond re-creation
  • Downtown pedestrian infrastructure improvements
  • Streetscaping and enhancements
  • Historical lighting
  • Water and sewer lateral replacements
  • Local street and storm sewer reconstruction
  • Wastewater treatment plant replacement