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Meeting location disputed, projects approved in Hobart

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – The ball keeps bouncing back and forth as to where village officials will meet with county administration to discuss the State Highway 29/County VV Interchange project.

The village received a letter from Brown County Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt Feb. 19, the day of the village board meeting, declining the village’s offer to have Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach attend an open village board meeting.

“I would like to assure you that County Executive Streckenbach’s door remains open to all municipalities and constituents,” the letter read. “If the Village Administrator, Village President, or any other municipal officials would like to come to our office, we will gladly meet with you regarding the future of the Highway 29-VV Interchange, the Southern Bridge, airport land development, trail development, or any other issues of interest.”

Flynt’s letter is in response to one sent by the village Jan. 27, extending the offer to meet at a public meeting, open to the media.

“The day isn’t long enough to go to their office and meet on (Highway) 29, the Southern Bridge, trail development, airport development,” said Rich Heidel, village president. “There isn’t enough hours in the day.”

The village has openly stated its disagreement with a land easement granted to the Oneida Nation by the county for land vital to the interchange project.

The village stresses the agreement isn’t fair to other land owners impacted by the project.

Heidel said the main point is to discuss is the interchange, and the rest can wait.

“I don’t think it’s asking too much at all for the county executive to stop by here and meet with us, but apparently it is,” he said.

However, the village board agreed to meet jointly with the Pulaski school board in regards to safety issues at Hillcrest Elementary School.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. March 10 at Hillcrest.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any action items,” said Aaron Kramer, village administrator. “If anything, what comes out of the meeting is going to be sent to the Public Works Committee to work on, where it’s been for a while.”
The two parties have discussed safety improvements to the area by the elementary school since December 2018.

Big projects, big price tags

The village board also agreed to numerous projects spending nearly $1 million of budgeted or bonded funds at its meeting.

The largest price tag is $728,211 and is attached to 2020 street and drainage improvements.

The board agreed to award the bid to Northeast Asphalt for road projects on Mapleview Court, Dream Lake Road, Concord Way and Acorn Drive.

Staff recommended Inverary Court not be included in the bid award, due to higher-than-projected costs.

The four selected projects also came in nearly $60,000 over budget, but Kramer said there are funds available.

“We’re fairly confident we will have surplus funds to allocate from our year-end fund balance and cover that $59,871 by allocating the 2019 surplus to that amount,” he said.

Also included in the bid is work to pave the north parking area at Four Seasons Park, curb and gutter on North Pine Tree Road (Thornberry to the north), erosion damage repair on Bay Ridge Court, a culvert on Trout Creek Road and 30 inlet repairs.

The work at Four Seasons Park also came in over budget, but Kramer said the park reserve fund has nearly $300,000 built up.

“We typically don’t like to go over budget, but we got that reserve account that provides shock absorbers for the process,” he said.

The second most expensive item approved was nearly $214,000 from Peters Concrete for the Southwind Estates culvert crossing project.

“To get to this (development) we have to cross a water feature,” Kramer said. “…This amount we wrapped into a bond issue in April or May with a whole slew of projects, this is one component.”

Kramer said the project is located adjacent to TID No. 2, so the bond will be issued by the TID.

Also included in the 2020 capital budget was $34,000 for a replacement public works vehicle.

The board approved a quote from Ewald Automotive Group of $28,625 for a 2020 Chevy Traverse.

The current 2014 Ford Explorer will be transferred to the office as a staff vehicle.

Preliminary plat and public hearings

The board also approved a preliminary plat for the Fifth Addition to the Hemlock Creek subdivision on the south side of the village.

The modified plat consists of 53 lots, with 30 in Hobart and 23 in Lawrence.

A change made to the document by the Planning and Zoning Committee removed one lot to offer a second entrance/exit and increase lot frontage to 100 feet.

The board also set March 17 as the date for five public hearings:

• A conditional use permit for an accessory building on a lot on Shady Drive.

• A conditional use permit for a year-round pond on the same Shady Drive property.

• Proposed changes to zoning for a bicycle and pedestrian path.

• Proposed changes to zoning for the placement of temporary construction signs.

• Proposed changes to zoning to create a new zoning designation to address future development at Austin Straubel International Airport.

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