Suamico board approves plan to reopen recreational facilities
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – The first phase to reopen village recreational facilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was approved with an amendment Monday, June 1, by the Suamico village board.
Phase I took effect at 7 a.m. Tuesday, June 2, which is the only specific date identified in the plan.
Board members received a plan to reopen the facilities in three phases from Leah Hackmaster, recreation director, who proposed – based on the state’s Badger Bounce Back plan and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – opening indoor park shelters only for recreation program use with a maximum of 10 people per facility.
However, with graduation parties now going on, the majority on the board also called for allowing those facilities to be rented out to the general public.
“If someone wants to rent our shelter and invite family members, friends to celebrate their senior or whoever – whether it’s a graduation or a wedding or what have you – I think they should be able to do it,” said Village President Laura Nelson. “People are adults, and they know what they’re getting into.”
Trustee Dan Roddan said it should be up to people renting the shelters as to how many people they want to have together.
“A lot of these parks were rented for graduations this summer, and I think it’s, first of all, very unfair, with the senior Class of 2020 to be in the spot that they’re at…,” he said. “Here we’re leaving it up to the organizations of youth sports programs to do whatever they want, yet we’re telling people they can’t use our shelters and rent them and make their own decisions.”
Following the board’s action to amend Phase I of the plan to reopen, all village facilities, including open air shelters and indoor shelters, will be available for reservation with the recommendation to remain in groups of 10 or less.
Refunds will be provided for anyone choosing to cancel a reservation rental.
Other guidelines in the Phase 1 plan to reopen include allowing adult and youth sports to rent out field space, while playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball hoops will be open for use.
Village parks and trails remain open with users encouraged to follow all CDC guidelines.
Special events will not occur, while Movie Night will be cancelled during Phase I.
Village programming will be allowed on a case-by-case basis, but limited to 10 or less participants.
Village Administrator Alex Kaker said the village received word last week from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration about Suamico being eligible for up to $207,000 in reimbursement for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The money from this grant comes from the latest federal CARES Act,” he said. “We intend on submitting our first reimbursement request sometime by the end of (June), and then we’ll continue to do so every two months until at least Nov. 1. I don’t anticipate that we’ll have $207,000 in expenses, but we’ll certainly submit for reimbursement anything and everything that we can think of that was related to COVID-19.”
Kaker said every municipality in the state was given a reimbursement allotment based on population size.
License fee reduction
To help restaurants and bars affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the board approved a resolution to reduce the liquor and beer license fees for 2020-21 by 25 percent to reflect the nearly three months those establishments had to close or scale back operations while the state’s Safer at Home order was in effect.
The reduced fees, which apply for licenses taking effect July 1 and running through June 30, 2021, are as follows:
• Class B liquor, $375.
• Class B fermented malt beverage, $75.
• Combination Class B, $450.
• Class A liquor, $375.
• Class A fermented malt beverage, $187.50.
• Combination Class A, $562.50.
• Class C Wine, $75.
With the revised fee schedule applying for only one year, Kaker said fees to charge for the 2021-22 licensing period will be considered as part of the 2021 budget process.