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Marinette Committee Hears Update On Higley Park Plan

Issue Date: May 27, 2021

Three City of Marinette Committee meetings were held on Monday, May 17, Parks and Rec, Civic Affairs and Public Safety Code Enforcement.

John Kneer President and Professional Landscape Architect (PLA) of Rettler Corporation gave a presentation of two conceptual drawings for the Higley Park comprehensive master plan. Kneer's area of expertise includes project management, site analysis and site design, landscape architecture and construction contract administration. Rettler Corp is located in Stevens Point and has a staff of landscape architects, designers, engineers and project managers with over 100 years of combined experience that are highly skilled and trained, and widely recognized as the best in their fields.

Kneer had visited the Higley sight to get more insight and history on the project and to see what things to build on including more parking, updated playground, what to do with the Tot Lot building, tear down, build a pavilion or options of what to do with that space.

Kneer said, "Based on the feedback and ideas I received, the focus is on the softball fields, splash pads, soft surface play areas, the skate park and tennis courts. There is also focus on parking along with concessions and other amenities, but most importantly connectivity between Higley Park, City Park and the Campground with walkways and free flow, including all areas of the Parksâ€.

Many options and ideas were tossed around with a decision to review the two different options given and confine the plan, make tweaks and finalize what to move forward with and will be brought back to the next Parks and Rec Committee meeting for further discussion.

Kneer added, "We can look at each segment and do it in phases and also can rearrange and look at short term and long approaches. We can then move into the concept phase with associated costs".

Exciting news and congratulations are in order for Adrienne Lacy, Parks Recreation Superintendent. Lacy was named a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Youth Sports by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). Lacy will be participating in various focus groups and committees to try to develop programs to foster youth sports coach development and parent behavior and assist with the creation of a youth sports messaging toolkit. SME's in youth sports are designed to empower park and recreation professionals to lead conversations around access to youth sports and play in their communities, specifically with parents who are highly involved in youth sports, NRPA is excited to develop this messaging toolkit to promote the essential role of community-based youth sports providers like parks and recreation in supporting the healthy development of youth.

Lacy announced "Summer Day Camp is going well. The numbers have gone up and we have been full for multiple weeks. There are already over 650 children enrolled, which is 400 more than than the month of April. Every week there is at least 65 kids and some weeks in the high 70's. We can get to 96 and still maintain Covid safety guidelines. Some of them are the same kids from the mini camps".

Lacy also provided a printed report of other Community programs: BMX, Skateboarding and Soccer Lessons started Thursday, May 6; Co-ed Softball team started Sunday, May 9 with 23 teams; A new Rec Hockey League for ages 4 to 14 have been developed with the Thunder Hockey Association that started on Monday, May 3 with 68 players plus drop-ins; T-Ball signups for three to five year old is going on and the games start in June; Core strengthening Cardio Kickboxing, Bend and Stretch and Yoga are ongoing monthly with students; Sporties for Shorties is ongoing with three full classes and classes will pause for the summer and restart in September; Taekwondo is ongoing and the Lifeguard Training Course started with six students and are still looking for more lifeguards.

A Tourism and Marketing printed copy of a report was also provided by former Director of Tourism and Marketing, Melissa Ebsch. Ebsch returned to her roots at Bay Cities Multi Media as the News Director.

Mentioned in the report were: Marinette Welcome Center is currently carrying K9, Marinette and Marinette County apparel; Spotlighting of one to two businesses per week continues; The Mural Project is waiting on the design concepts from the the designer of the project and the K9 Run/Walk event is being marketed via social media and billboard.

Recreation Executive Director Gavin Scray advised in his report upcoming events at the Rec Center including: July 15 and 16, AIM Fishing - Quest for the Best; July 16 Bob and Rocco Gun and Knife Show; July 18 AIM - Fishing State Qualifier; July 24, Outdoor Flea Market; Aug 3, National Night Out; Aug. 6, Kids Day in Marinette; Aug. 20, Mayhem on Main; Aug. 27 and 28, AIM Fishing - State Championship; Oct. 2, Let's Be Frank - Franks Family Feud; Oct. 9, Mom Prom; Oct. 16 Antique and Flea Market; Oct 23, Second Annual Blues, Brews and BBQs; Nov. 19, Old World Christmas and Dec. 4 Christmas in Marinette Craft Show.

Also mentioned in his report are staffing needs for the Rec Center. The center is currently seeking staffing for a full time cleaning position and a Marketing and Tourism Director position. They will also be hiring for summer seasonal positions and lifeguards.

In his report, Superintendent of Public Works Patrick Carlson provided an update of repairs including: Picnic tables and new posts were installed at the new tent sites with fire pits to follow; New tent sites were approved by the State of Wisconsin. A permit is required by the State to approve any plans for new sites that may be developed at the campsite; The pavilion floor was painted along with the bathroom walls; City Park campground bath and shower house was repainted along with the Stephenson Island bathrooms also being repainted; Boom Landing and 6th Street boat launch bathroom floors were coated with new epoxy and all boat ramp information boards were updated and repainted.

Brought forward from a prior meeting by Alderman Jason Flatt to the Civic Affairs, Cemetery, Traffic and Lights Committee meeting of Monday, May 17, City Engineer Brian Miller checked into no handicap parking availability on Ella Court Street entrance to the Court House between Stephenson Street and Court Street. Miller said, "I reached out to the City Architect that helped with parking at the Law Enforcement building as well as with Building Inspector Curt Demlow and we all concurred there was not sufficient handicap parking. The handicap parking site would need to be the shortest distance to the building being served. There would need to be considerable changes to the parking lot and the County should also be included in the discussion first and then be sent to the Planning Commission for further discussion.†It was agreed upon to do further investigation and bring back to the planning commission for their next meeting.

Alderperson Liz Mikutowski added, "The lighting in the neighborhood that leads to Red Arrow Park is dimly lit. With the park, parking lot and neighborhood being so dark and the illicit behavior that goes in that area, is that something that would be brought to this committee"? and she also offered to provide pictures for the next meeting and go from there.

In other agenda items, the recommendation to purchase back Crypt #330 Level E, West Corridor from Dennis and Carol Kampka for the purchase price of $3,260 minus the letter fee of $275 for a total of $2,985, which was approved by the committee. The other item approved was a request from the Charles H. Lesperance family for placement of a bench in Section G, Block 28, Lot two, grave eight.

The final meeting was the Public Safety and Code Enforcement Committee, including an update and discussion on the Mutual Aid Inter-local agreement between the states of Michigan and Wisconsin municipality fire departments participating in the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS). Committee Chairperson Jeff Skorik commented, â€We have had some discussions through the committee in regards to what extent we want to travel into the state of Michigan realizing that those trips are reciprocal that we receive aide from those agencies who we assist as well. There are no geographical boundaries that I saw in the agreement. This is a general agreement and we have had conversations in the past, what is the committees opinion if we should forward this agreement to Council and let the Council weigh-in, if they want to accept the agreement in its entirety or if they want to make any modifications to this agreementâ€.

With this agenda item being listed as discussion and update only and not listed as a possible action item, the committee was not able to take action. The item will be repeated on the agenda for June meeting, to read as â€discussion with possible action'.

Skorik mentioned the building inspector is slated to attend the June meeting for the progress on the properties that are on the watch list and look forward to seeing what kind of progress was made on these properties.


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