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NR City Council approves Commons proposal

During its Jan. 12 Council Meeting, the New Richmond City Council approved paying their share for Task 1 of the next phase for the Community Commons project while also hearing department reports and a presentation from WPPI Energy. The council also discussed a property lot resubdivision in Stanton Township and a request for aid from VFW Post 10818.

City Administrator Mike Darrow outlined Leo A Daly’s “Next Steps” proposal for the Community Commons project to the council, which includes a facility audit of existing conditions, a space needs summary of future tenants and the development of concepts for renovation/demolition to help provide an opinion of probable costs for the projects.

“We talked to the city’s members of the ad hoc committee for the Commons Project and we felt that it would be in the city’s best interest to move forward with this task number,” Darrow said. “This task’s goal is to get a sound number based on the square footage so that after that number is examined the city and its partners can then make a sound decision on the financial sustainability of the project.”

Task 1 of the next phase of the project includes the engineering building audit and an executive summary report and opinion of probable costs. The city and the New Richmond School Board would share the costs of Task 1, which is not to exceed $9,800. The council approved Task 1 in the amount of $4,900.

Wisconsin Tourism Reimbursement Grant

Councilwoman Scottie Ard brought a request to the council from the New Richmond VFW Post 10818 to have the council consider applying for a Joint Effort Marketing grant in order to help the Post market its upcoming Loyalty Day Parade and the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall.

“Anything in print, radio, posters, handouts and other media such as that would be covered by this grant,” Ard said. “The VFW is going to apply for the grant for the Moving Wall only. They will apply for the April grant for this reimbursable grant. What they are seeking from the city is forward funds if the grant is approved.”

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism administers the JEM grant program and this particular grant is a one-time reimbursable event grant which may be used for media expenses up to $28,250. According to Ard, the budget for media on this is going to be around $9,000.

“The media for this event would start in May, which is an appropriate amount of time for an event in September,” Ard said. “The reimbursement, from my understanding, comes within 30 days.”

The gap funding for the VFW media campaign was approved the by the council on conditions of the granting being awarded.

Resubdivision

Also discussed at length during the meeting was a resubdivision request by Gary and Nancy Cook. The Cooks own 42 acres consisting of two parcels located adjacent to the south side of Highway 64 about half a mile east of 145th Street in the Town of Stanton. The property owners would like to redivide the land into two more evenly shaped parcels so that they can relocate their house and sell the second parcel.

The Plan Commission, which met on Jan. 6, discussed the topic at length and approved the proposal, with the condition that a driveway easement be recorded on the two lots that requires a single driveway with access to Highway 64, subject to St. Croix County approval. The lone no vote came from councilwoman Jane Hansen, who also spoke out against the proposal at the Plan Commission meeting as well as the City Council meeting on Monday.

“I wasn’t satisfied with the -- it didn’t seem right to me,” Hansen said. “I would say that we don’t have to two lots. We have two taxable parcels for the purpose of taxing. I still vote no on this because of terminology...it doesn’t make sense to me. I think we need more information and more discussion on this subject.”

After more discussion, most of it surrounding whether or not the two lots are both “buildable lots” or just two taxable parcels, councilmen Craig Kittel made a motion to approve the proposal, but the motion failed when there was no second to the motion. Councilwoman Scottie Ard then made a motion to table the decision for the council’s next meeting to allow for more time to get a better grasp and more clarity on the subject. The motion passed, tabling the discussion/decision until the next meeting.

Other business:

  •  The council approved a request from the New Richmond Area Ambulance Service to change its bylaws so that the secretary/treasurer position on the executive committee would be separated into two positions, a treasurer and secretary.
  •  The council heard a presentation from WPPI Energy about New Richmond and its partnership with WPPI.
  •  The council passed two resolutions, #011501 and #011502, to designate the financial institutions where the city’s monies can be deposited.
  •  The council scheduled its work session for the month on Jan. 26, at 5 p.m.
Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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