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Citizen planners ready to shape future

New Richmond City Council members recognized the outstanding work done by citizen members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee Monday, Feb. 12. (Back row, from left): Jim Zajkowski, Ron Volkert, Tanya Batchelor, Mike Montello, Jim Jackson, Scottie Ard, Craig Kittel; (front row): Kevin Morris, Karen Smallidge, Blair Williams, Michelle Scanlan, Katie Wendt, Anna Knutson, Jeremy Poole, Mark Evans, Amber Bulman, Jenny Larson, Rosemary Kosin, Michelle Carlson, and Todd Streeter.

Members of the New Richmond City Council joined Community Development Director Beth Thompson and City Administrator Mike Darrow Monday night in recognizing the outstanding work done by citizen members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee.

"We have a number of people here in the audience this evening who have worked really, really hard over the last eight months on our comprehensive plan which we have dubbed, 'Forward New Richmond.' This group of people, along with others who couldn't be here, have spent about 860 hours between meetings and making different presentations, thinking about what New Richmond could be and how we can move forward. This group has been amazing and is really creating our path over the next 10-15 years," said Thompson.

"We had so many new people put the extra time in. When we had that Saturday meeting, I was amazed at how you put it (the presentation) together and how it was presented to everybody who was there that day. You guys put your hearts and souls into it. I was just so proud of you people. I don't think I could have done what you did. It was just a great, great job. Thank you for doing it," said Alderman Jim Zajkowski.

"It's just amazing what you've accomplished and it really shows through that you really care about the city and where we're going. That's huge for all of us and all the residents of the city. I really respect all of you," said Alderman Craig Kittel.

"You have laid such a strong foundation in your research, in your time and in your thoughtfulness. This is a comprehensive plan base that will be built upon for generations," said Alderperson Scottie Ard.

"I'm incredibly impressed with Beth Thompson for taking a leap in this, realizing that we could do better during this first phase of this and sticking with it. Lead by her due diligence and hard work, this is a group that really has exceeded expectations, beyond anything we could have imagined. On behalf of staff, I thank you so much for what you've done. We appreciate it," said Darrow.

The committee has about a month of work left to do including a number public presentations before organizations including the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, and Friday, Feb. 23, at the State of the City event at WITC.

City Finance Director Rae Ann Ailts reported the list of projects under consideration as part of the City's Capital Improvement Plan have been listed on the City's web site, newrichmondwi.gov (tab on right side). Questions can be addressed to Ailts or Darrow.

Ailts also announced the City has added two new hires to its staff, Management Analyst Joel Enders and utility lineman Darren O'Flanagan.

The Police Department reported five suspects were arrested and two victims saved as a result of operations focused on human trafficking during the week of the Super Bowl. The department also reports, the name for the new K-9 will be Storm as decided by the fourth graders at St. Mary's School.

New Richmond Regional Airport Director Mike Demulling told council members the airport hosted 40 aircraft during the week of the Super Bowl while several hundred passengers passed through the gate with the help of more than 20 volunteers.

"It would have been an impossible task if not for the volunteers, so a big thank you. Overall, it was a huge success," said Demulling.

Demulling confirmed several celebrity sightings at the airport including Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Fallon and Terry Bradshaw.

Council members unanimously approved Ordinance #508 governing the keeping of goats within the city limits. Some of the provisions include: goats cannot be kept for more than 60 days on the same property within a calendar year; no more than 15 goats per property; property must be a minimum of 1 acre in area; the use of goats is limited to does and/or wethers only; and the Director of Public Works may prohibit the use of goats with horns that are determined to present a safety concern to the public and/ or other animals.

Other business

• The city's Façade Grant has been raised to $5,000.

• The city will partner with the library to present a program about the City's Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Management Plan starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the library.

• New Richmond Area Ambulance will celebrate 50 years of service on Sunday, Feb. 18, with an Open House from 1-3 p.m. at the ambulance garage. The public is invited.

• The Clerk's office reminds everyone to vote in the election on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Voters will be electing a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. City polling places will be open from 7 a.m. — 8 p.m. Absentee voting at the Clerk's office ends Friday, Feb. 16, at 5 p.m. The last day to have a ballot mailed to you is Thursday, Feb. 15.

• The council voted to change the name of North Pierson Avenue starting at the intersection of First Street and Washington Avenue all the way to the entrance of Lakeside Foods, to Lakeside Drive.

• Patricia Van Nevel and Jarell Kuney were appointed to the Library Board.

• The council approved a contract with SEH not to exceed $14,734 to design two connections to the Willow River Bluffs Trail as part of Phase One of the County Highway A Tail Project.

• The council approved Ordinance #509 which places weight limits on alleys, requires alleys to be paved with asphalt, and shares asphalt costs 50/50 between the City and the abutting property owners based on lineal frontage.

• The council approved a resolution establishing Saturday, April 28, 2018 as the date for the 2018 VFW Wisconsin State Loyalty Day Parade. The parade kicks off at 12:30 p.m. Details can be found on VFW Post 10818 New Richmond / St. Croix County website at: vfwpost10818.org.

• The city, in conjunction with WITC and the Chamber of Commerce, will host the State of the City event starting with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and formal presentation at 8 a.m., Friday, Feb. 23, at WITC.

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