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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Council Okays Plans For Another City Park

Issue Date: August 2, 2017

The City of Peshtigo is planning to create a new park in the vicinity of Railroad Street and the water tower area across the highway on Old Cedar Way as soon as a suitable location is found.

The new park was recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee at its meeting on Thursday, July 20, and unanimously endorsed by City Council when it met on Tuesday, Aug. 2. Aldermen Mike Behnke and Jillian Schutte, the two Parks and Recreation Committee members present for that meeting, discussed potential locations and what to put in a park.

Alderman Brigitte Schmidt was absent, but sent an e-mail recommending that no city funds or transferring of funds be used for the Disc Golf Course. Parks and Recreation Director David Zahn has been raising money for a back nine addition to the disc golf course in Badger Park. The set of nine holes costs $2,925 and $1,700 is still needed to finish the project.

Other items Schmidt mentioned in her e-mail were that weeds are getting out of hand at the Drees Community Center and lack of progress on providing a dock at the beach by the small pavilion. "I have had many requests for this and am disappointed we have had no progress on this at more than halfway through the year," she wrote.

She also said she recalled only approving the disc golf expansion if sponsors were found, and added, "I don't support transferring money out of any other accounts which were budgeted for other needs."

At the Council meeting, Alderman Mary Lock asked about plans for the disc golf course. She said Sharon Schounard is concerned about the expansion, as location of the "catcher" across the street from her house has resulted in Frisbees hitting her home, and she would prefer not to have that problem get worse.

Schmidt recalled that plans for the "Back Nine" expansion included moving some of the existing catchers to new locations and she believed that was one of them, partly because of the problem Lock described.

As she had at the committee meeting, Mayor Cathi Malke went on record that she opposes the location of the Back Nine. "I fear we're putting children in an area where we can't watch them...It's in the woods," she commented. She had said at the committee meeting that she worries about children being in the woods where they are out of sight from adults.

Zahn was not present for the Council meeting, but reported at the committee meeting that the Green Bay Packers organization had donated a tarp for the city's baseball fields, and congregation members of the New Life Church had come to Riverfront Park on Saturday, July 15 to help out by pulling weeds and hauling wood chips.

Council unanimously approved Mayor Malke's appointment of Mary Thibodeau as a Commissioner on the Peshtigo Housing Authority for a five year term starting on Oct. 1, 2017.

A street use permit for both sides of West Front Street from French Street to Stibbe to provide parking for about 50 motorcycles was approved for River Pub for a motorcycle "Run for the Hungry" on Saturday, Aug. 19. Alderman Debbie Sievert commented that all proceeds will go to the Peshtigo Food Pantry. "It's a very wonderful fundraiser," commented Alderman Behnke.

On motions by Schutte as chair of the License and Police Committee, council approved addition of the parking lot at 290 French Street (Center Bowl) to the Class B Liquor License for Wortner Venture, LLC, and bartender licenses for Sarah Kay Callow, Cindy Lou Kopp and Michelle Lee Mech. All had been approved by Peshtigo Police.

On recreation of the Finance Committee, council approved purchase of a 2018 Fleet Ford F150 XL 4WD truck in Ingot Silver for $26,446. The vehicle is designated for Parks and Recreation Department use.

Schmidt asked Finance Committee Chair Alderman Tom Gryzwa if Zahn had talked to him about the vehicle's color, and Gryzwa said he had, but explained, "We hand them (vehicles) down from one department to another so it's best to be consistent and stay with one color." He added the vehicle will have the Parks and Recreation logo on the door so it will be recognizable.

On motion by Gryzwa, Council approved transfer of $11,355 from undesignated contingency to regular wages for patrolmen in the police account. Gryzwa explained the wage agreement was not finalized when the budget was adopted so money had been put into contingency for that purpose.

Other Finance Committee recommendations approved were assignment of $1,725 from summer donations to the parks department building and grounds improvements fund, and $1,022 from miscellaneous summer revenue to the parks supplies and expenses account. The $1,725 was a donation from M&M Area Community Foundation. The $1,022 was the total collected from sponsors of flower pots in the city. Cost is $36 each.

An insurance payment of $315,613 for damages from last year's hail storm was assigned to the account for municipal building repairs and maintenance.

On recommendation of the Streets and Drainage Committee Council awarded contracts for chip seal coating to Fahrner Asphalt Sealers for $37,784.78, and street resurfacing to Northeast Asphalt for $190,567.50. Approval of the Northeast Asphalt contract included change orders eliminating adjustment of manhole covers for a savings of $4,550 and adjusting the water box for a savings of $3,690. Sievert explained Public Works Director George Cowell felt the city crew could do those jobs.

By unanimous Council vote, Cowell was authorized to advertise for recycling bids for 2018.

During time for public comment at the start of the meeting Cowell reported that sink holes have developed at two locations in the city. The one at McGraw and Emery is more serious and they need to find out what has been compromised, he said. The storm sewer there is very deep, and the sink hole seems to accept as much water as they can put into it.

The Public Works Department has been busy. They removed sand from Anderson Park, graded the area and planted grass, which seems to be growing.

At the tower boat launch they took down two mature popple trees this spring and now have smoothed the area and planted two new trees.

Repairs have been made to fences at the recycling area, but more work is needed to the south.

City crews removed some downed trees from the Rainbow Circle area, and are about done cleaning up after the storm damage a few weeks ago. "It was a big push, but we are pretty much caught up on chipping," he commented.

Crews have been painting cross walks and white lines on city streets, light pole flag standards have been changed from military to historic, and he had confirmed that the water tower bid included both towers. Council accepted the water tower inspection proposal from Liquid Engineering for $3,590, with work to be completed in 2017.

Cowell reported the sludge thickener project at the wastewater treatment plant is complete, and council approved the second payment of $98,796.42.

Cowell said water line flushing on the city's east side was finished in July, and the west side lines will be flushed next year. He said results confirm that the flushing is effective and has proven to prevent complaints about discolored water.

Building Inspector Tom Smith reported accessory building permits were issued to Brian Eggener and Larry Lesneski, and two building permits were issued to Boehm Rentals for remodeling projects.

Smith reported the property owner at N2424 Old Cedar Way has made considerable progress, and used some tires to make a playground for his kids. All old abandoned appliances have been removed.

Wisconsin Public Service had contacted him about need to put up a new communication tower near the dam, but ultimately decided to just use an existing tower in the city.

Smith said he had received inquiries about uses for a property in 1 and 2 classifications, and it appears that two individuals are interested in building storage units. He said warehousing is permitted, so one might consider storage units in the same category.

He had been asked if owners can obtain building permits, and if unlicensed contractors can do work in the city. He said the owner can do work on a dwelling in which they live, but work at rentals should be done by licensed contractors.

Smith said routine inspections were done on issued permits and no unusual issues were found.

He had done a final inspection and approved occupancy for the home at 549 French Street. The new owner had contracted for a complete remodel of the entire home, Smith said. The house was rewired, plumbing was upgraded, and it was made into more of an open concept home, he said.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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