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Verlanic honored, board moves ahead with grant process

By Ben Rodgers
Staff Writer

SUAMICO – A local Eagle Scout was recognized by the village board at the Monday, Feb. 5 meeting.

Karch Verlanic, a Bay Port senior, was honored for his Eagle Scout project, which was completed in November.

He raised funds and constructed a storage shed for Duck Creek Pop Warner football at the fields in Idlewild Community Park.

“I knew Duck Creek Pop Warner was trying to find places to store their equipment, and before they were spending money on a storage building …” Verlanic said. “Now with their location they’re able to walk over to their shed, grab a helmet or two, get back to their games and save a lot of money they can now spend on kids.”

Verlanic played Pop Warner when he lived in Alaska and when his family moved to Suamico.

For the project he raised $20,000 over 3 1/2 years of fundraising. Verlanic also did some of the construction himself.

“It starts and ends with you,” said Sky Van Rossum, village trustee. “To stay on it for 3 1/2 years with this vision you had, obviously I have no doubt you will be successful in your future.”

Verlanic has applied to both the Naval and Air Force academies, and on Monday he was accepted into Texas A&M. He still hasn’t formally committed to a school.

In other news the board heard some discussion about the application for a grant to help fund the cost of making the kayak/canoe launch at Fireman’s Park ADA compliant.

The formal resolution was to authorize improvements to recreational boating facilities.

According to Steve Kubacki, village administrator, this is needed in order to apply for matching 50 percent grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The main improvement would make the kayak/canoe launch easier for people with disabilities to use.

Kubacki said the cost for the village if the grant was approved would be around $20,000. These dollars could come out of TIF District no. 2, or possibly excess stadium tax dollars.

“I don’t like this thing, it’s too big,” said Michelle Eckert, village trustee. “ In the video I saw it looked bigger than the river. It doesn’t make sense to me for that level of disability; you’re going to tote your canoe down that steep hill.”

Michelle Eckert, Suamico trustee speaks during the Monday, Feb. 5 village board meeting. Ben Rodgers Photo

Dan Drewery, director of public works said the trail leading down to the current launch has been used so much the grass has been trampled down and now it’s at the point of having slippery gravel down the hill.

He also said people in wheelchairs who want to kayak or canoe will typically have a person with them to help get the boat off the roof of the car.

Nikki Hilker, director of recreation and parks, said during the peak season her department gets on average about five calls a week with people asking about the launch and its accessibility to the bay of Green Bay.

Suamico is home to the most safe ports on the west side of the bay, which makes it a popular destination for kayakers and canoers.

The new ADA compliant launch system would replace the steep slope with a paved, gradual decline and would also make launching kayaks/canoes easier for everybody, not just those with disabilities.

“I think it’s going too far, it’s too complex,” Eckert said. “You’re ruining a natural area, maybe not ruining, but I don’t agree with it.”

The resolution passed 3-1 with Eckert as the lone opposed vote. Absent at the meeting were Trustees Dan Roddan, Jason Ward and Steve Andrews.

The board also took advantage of an opportune moment and moved ahead with the purchase of fill material for Fire Station no. 1 site prep.

Kubacki said he received a call recently for fill material at a discounted price with the possibility to save the village between $20,000 and $30,000.

To get this done the village has to complete tree removal at the lot, Wisconsin Public Service will need to relocate power lines, and the village needs to bid out delivery of the material and stockpiling of it.

In order to complete this now, ahead of where it would normally fall on the project timeline, roughly $100,000 will need to be reallocated from a later portion of the project’s budget.

“This is not adding $100,000 to the project. It will be part of the core project,” Kubacki said. “But what we’re doing is striking while the iron is hot, and to be quite honest with you this is one of those surprises where you say ‘Whoa, let’s get on this horse and go.’”

The motion to direct staff to move ahead passed unanimously.

A committee is still in the process of making a recommendation to the full board about which company to use for a comprehensive needs study for the new building.

Finally the board announced it is looking for two members from the public who would be interested in serving on a cemetery committee.

The board is in the process of taking over operations from the Suamico Cemetery Association. It wants to make sure the public has a chance to serve on this newly formed committee.

Anyone interested can call the village at 434-2212.

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