Weekly Meeting Recap
SUAMICO VILLAGE BOARD
Revision approved for drive-thru restaurant
A revision to the development district site plan to allow a drive-thru restaurant to be built within the Urban Edge development was approved Monday, Feb. 21, by the Village Board.
Zoning Administrator Steve Dunks said the restaurant site will be located east of what was the Shopko roundabout.
“We’re looking at about a 7.75-acre parcel here,” he said. “The total Urban Edge development is over 43 acres.”
Dunks said the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission discussed directing the drive-thru traffic through the restaurant’s parking stalls.
“That is typical for most fast-food restaurants,” he said. “We do like to contain them within their site.”
Given the change in use of the former Shopko building, which was repurposed for indoor storage units with some retail space in front, Dunks said parking shouldn’t be an issue for Urban Edge as a whole, and the sit-down portion of the planned restaurant should have plenty of onsite parking.
Village President Sky Van Rossum said traffic directed in and around a restaurant only affects that facility.
“If (the restaurant) has a problem, then it’s really their issue,” he said. “It doesn’t become a traffic hazard issue.”
Van Rossum said it makes sense for Midwest Expansion to find “new and creative ways to use that parking lot space and generate revenue for themselves, and this (restaurant) seems like a good one.”
Fire Chief Joe Bertler presented the department’s annual report to the board.
Bertler said last year, the department had 248 fire calls for structure fires, motor vehicle accidents and carbon monoxide alarms, and an additional 163 calls were related to emergency medical service, for a total of 411 calls for service.
He said 43 fire calls were for matters outside of Suamico.
Bertler said the department currently has 43 firefighters.
“The commitment the village has shown to the Fire Department, and has made to (it), has paid dividends,” he said. “We have the most volunteers, or paid-on-calls, in Brown County, and probably in the area. We’ve had other departments ask how we do it, and I said, ‘It’s the support that we get from our community and the Village Board of why we’re so successful.’”
SEYMOUR SCHOOL BOARD
Zero COVID-19 cases
For the first time, Superintendent Laurie Asher said the district has no active COVID-19 students, and just one staff positive case, as of Tuesday, Feb. 22.
“Our testing is way down,” Asher said. “We probably are testing, maybe at the most, 10 a week. We are pretty much mirroring what’s going on in the region. That is kind of exciting for us. It’s been a long, almost two years. I think this is the only time in the last two years that we’ve been at zero cases, since we’ve been tracking.”
Groundbreaking for referendum expansion
Zeise Construction, the district’s contractor for the $6.5 million technical education renovation and new construction referendum project, will break ground on the project Friday, Feb. 25.
Business Manager Pete Kempen said once the project starts, there will be no car traffic in front of the middle and high schools.
“There is going to be congestion, and it’s going to be that way through August,” he said.
Kempen said some space should be ready for the start of school in the fall, with completion scheduled for November.
The School Board unanimously approved the purchase and installation of a sound system from Northern Sound at a cost of $21,858.89, the lowest of the three bids received.
The system will replace the current sound system in the Seymour Middle School gymnasium.
“It doesn’t work,” Kempen said. “The gym classes don’t even use it. They use a boombox.”
Board members also approved the purchase, expansion and installation of a 16×12-foot overhead door for the warehouse from Schuh Construction for $10,947.
Kempen said the new door is needed in the warehouse to house the two district vehicles currently housed in the tech ed area, which will no longer be possible with the new construction.
HOWARD PLAN COMMISSION
Multi-venue project site plan approved, contingencies linger
A site plan to build a family entertainment center (FEC) at the northeast corner of Duck Creek Parkway and Woodman Drive was approved Monday, Feb. 21, by the village’s Plan Commission.
The two-story, multi-venue project, known as the Thomas Theatre Group Family Entertainment Center, would feature a four-auditorium cinema, 12 lanes of bowling, a 5,000-square-foot arcade, restaurant, two bars, six lanes of axe throwing, six lanes of duckpin mini bowling, nine holes of indoor mini golf, a live performance stage, approximately 1,600 square feet of private event space, a 2,600-square-foot deck and 46,000 square feet of outdoor recreation area.
At the Feb. 21 meeting, Architect Kip Coleman, the project’s consultant, said it will take about 4-6 months to go through the project’s design development phase and another year to build, depending on the weather.
Providing foundations can be dug before next winter, he said the FEC could open by late summer or early fall of 2023.
The project, however, is in limbo.
The project applicant, Tom Andes said possible additional costs associated with remedying a retention pond in the vicinity of the site could halt his efforts to build the FEC..
Andes said the site plan was approved by the village’s Plan Commission as required, because no sale of property can happen without an approved site plan.
But he said the sale still has much to do with who would be required to foot the bill for remedying the retention pond, because of the significant cost involved.
ASHWAUBENON VILLAGE BOARD
Hampton Inn site plan approved
A site plan to construct a four-story, Hampton Inn hotel with 89 rooms at 830 Morris Ave. received final approval Tuesday, Feb. 22, from the Village Board.
The project will replace a blighted steel warehouse and gravel parking lot located between the Moose Lodge to the west, Home2 Suites to the east, Capital Credit Union to the south and Green Bay Distillery to the north.
The plan submitted to the village calls for a total square footage of 53,090, with 14,840 square feet on the first floor and 12,750 square feet for each of the upper three floors.
The first floor will include a pool, fitness center, meeting room and lobby/breakfast area.
Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said the project, which was recommended by the village’s Site Plan Review Committee and the Plan Commission, required board approval because it is located in Ashwaubenon’s Sports and Entertainment zoning district.
He said approximately .69 acres of land from Home2 Suites is being acquired for Hampton Inn, with both hotels under the same ownership, to accommodate additional parking.
Schuette said Morris Avenue is being reconstructed, including upgraded utilities, in 2023, but the Hampton Inn will be able to access the existing utilities, if the hotel opens before the upgrade is completed.
“At that time, sidewalks will also be installed along Morris Avenue, so we’ll provide some pedestrian accommodations on the north side,” he said.
Schuette said access to the Hampton Inn will be from both Morris Avenue to the south and Borvan Avenue to the north, so the hotel would not be blocked off during the Morris Avenue reconstruction, which is being funded through Tax Incremental Finance District No. 5.
Public Works Director Doug Martin said design work for reconstructing Morris Avenue will begin this summer, with surveying and design taking place this fall.
DE PERE SCHOOL BOARD
Hovering at a possible need for extra staffing
The De Pere School District is currently “on the bubble” in regards to kindergarten enrollments and hiring more staff.
“Because of the way the budget works, we don’t want to have staffing without students,” Superintendent Ben Villarruel said.
However, if there’s an influx of students, Villarruel said teaching staff will increase accordingly.
In kindergarten classrooms at Altmayer, Dickinson and Heritage elementary schools, the student-to-teacher ratio is close to the optimal ratio of 20:1 – with 18.25, 19.67 and 20.40 students per section, respectively.
The district has 4,270 students – 88 more than five years ago – with a staff full-time equivalent (FTE) of 337.73.
Five years ago, in 2017-18, the student body stood at 4,182, with a staff FTE of 315.77.
Villarruel said the economic downturn in 2008-09 meant fewer young families and decreased enrollment in the district.
He said a lot depends on the economy.
Human Resources Director Kirby Kulas said staff totals will ultimately be greater once staffing funded by Title I is added back into the mix.
“At this point, it’s not known what amount, if any, of Title I money the district will receive,” Kulas said in a memo to the board.
He said Title I funded one full-time equivalent position in the 2021-22 school year.
Presentations open to the public
Board members also heard from district social workers Melanie Brick and Michelle Dahlke, who talked about the Redbird Wellness Series, mental health presentations geared toward parents, made possible through a state mental health grant.
“March is one of the months of much discontent,” Brick said, because it’s still cold and in between winter and spring sports seasons.
She said in the past, the parent workshops have drawn anywhere from five to 60 attendees.
Brick said staff chooses their topics based on feedback from parents.
For example, she said, one presentation is on anxiety in children.
“That’s very relevant right now, as we enter the post-COVID stages, anxieties come to the forefront,” Brick said.
The programs will be held on Thursdays throughout March.
BROWN COUNTY BOARD
Prior to the start of the Feb. 16 County Board meeting at the Resch Expo, Board Chair Pat Buckley announced he would step down as chairman for the night to allow Vice Chair Tom Sieber to take his place.
Buckley said Sieber, who is not seeking election, has been a valuable asset to the County Board for the last 10 years, the last two as vice chair, and wanted to take this chance to recognize his efforts.
Table of organization changes
The County Board approved a variety of tables of organizations at its Feb. 16 meeting.
Supervisors approved pay increases for county supervisory positions and implemented pay tiers for telecommunication operator positions.
According to a memo to the board, the recommended change comes from the Public Safety Department, which has struggled with recruiting because of the county’s lower hourly rates in comparison to surrounding counties for the same positions.
Staff is hopeful the changes will help reduce turnover and retain current employees.
The board also approved the addition of four social worker/case manager positions to its table of organization.
Associated position costs will be covered through DHS funding for administrative expenses allocated to Brown County.
Buckley submitted a late communication, which was referred to the Executive Committee, to discuss election concerns in the City of Green Bay that could affect County Board supervisor elections, to preserve the integrity of the election process.
The Executive Committee will take up the issue at its next meeting.
DE PERE CITY COUNCIL
Pool referendum fund
The City Council approved the redirection of $49,427 from the pool referendum fund to help pay for a maintenance specialist and seasonal senior pool manager.
Marty Kosobucki, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, said the need for the position stems from the increased attendance and subsequent work the new VFW Aquatic Center Pool brings to the department.
Alderpersons voted unanimously Feb. 16 to amend the 2022 budget resolution for the reapporatation.
The vote also included directing $87,950 from unassigned reserves in the general fund to use toward two other positions – a part-time community service officer who will focus on the city parks and an administrative assistant for the legal department – along with two office cubicles.
In a memo to the board, Human Resources Director Shannon Metzler said the assistant will free the paralegal up to further assist the city attorney.
“Many current administrative tasks have been delayed in order to focus on the immediate legal needs of the department and city,” Metzler said in a memo.
The council gave the go-ahead for the city to hire outside help for assisting with grant management, to include identifying grants, applying for grants and monitoring application status.
City Administrator Larry Delo said the city will seek proposals for a one-year contract to start in July.
Delo said the task is currently left up to staff, and processes aren’t standardized.
“The amount of staff time available and experience in identifying grant opportunities varies significantly from department to department, and is currently not centrally managed,” he said. “The administration believes the city could experience significant benefit from utilizing the services of a firm that has the necessary skills and experience to consistently identify, and as needed, solicit and manage grants for municipalities.”
SEYMOUR COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Proposed city ordinances
The Common Council discussed ordinances regarding outdoor firewood storage and defining building permit parameters when it met as a Committee of the Whole Feb. 15.
City Administrator Sean Hutchison said the city’s nuisance ordinance doesn’t currently allow firewood to be stored outside, but an ordinance amendment would permit it if the firewood is “neatly stacked.”
A memo from Hutchison to the council stated city staff received a number of calls about firewood being kept in neighboring yards, and he believes it’s prudent to approve an ordinance amendment.
The proposed amendment also states an accumulation of firewood “shall be sawed or otherwise reduced in size so that no piece thereof exceeds 36 inches in length or 1 foot in width.”
If the amendment is approved, no firewood could be stored within 5 feet of any building, fence and/or property line, and the firewood would have to be maintained “so as not to constitute a danger or potential danger to the public health, safety or welfare.”
Hutchison said city staff received complaints about the current two-year duration of building permits from the time they are issued until they expire.
He said a proposed ordinance would grant two-year permits for building new homes, while other building permits would be for one year with the possibility of getting a six-month extension by showing progress of construction a year after the permit was issued.
Alderpersons will further discuss the two proposed ordinances when it meets in mid-March as the Committee of the Whole.
A possible final approval could come at the end of April.
ALLOUEZ VILLAGE BOARD
New jetting truck purchased
The village’s Department of Public Works (DPW) will be acquiring a new sewer jetting/vacuum truck to replace its existing 2001 model year truck, which currently has 82,000 miles on it and 5,800 hours of operation recorded.
After looking at three options for the truck, which is used to clean and flush out sewer lines, DPW recommended the Vactor 2100I, at an estimated cost of $502,374.
Not only was the Vactor model the lowest-priced of the three considered vehicles, DPW staff said it best meets the needs of the village.
“Our staff, (DPW Director) Sean (Gehin) and company, they’re great,” Village Trustee Jim Genrich said. “The work they do makes our jobs as trustees so much easier. They do all of the legwork and bring us good proposals. A lot of the time, all we have to do is sign off.”
DE PERE BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS
Commissioners voted to move forward with the technical design of the future Nelson Family Pavilion at Voyageur Park, estimated to cost between $1-1.2 million.
Currently, $770,000 has been raised or pledged.
The multi-use facility plan includes an open-air seating area with river views that could be reserved for private gatherings, restrooms and a 700-square-foot community room with three overhead doors that could be opened up on sunny days.
The board approved sending out requests for proposals for technical design, bidding and construction management.
Beer garden sponsors
De Pere’s summer beer garden events at Voyageur Park have a main sponsor.
The Board of Park Commissioners approved a $3,000 donation Feb. 17 by Amerilux International, making it the event’s top contributor.
The park board accepted two other donations of $1,500, from GRAEF and Immel Construction, to sponsor the July and August beer garden events, respectively.
BELLEVUE VILLAGE BOARD
Another $23,000 approved for ash trees
The Village Board approved a motion Feb. 9 to allocate an additional $23,000 to remove and replace approximately 50 ash trees within the public right of way, or other village-owned properties.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Adam Waszak said the village has been working on eradicating the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) for several years, and previously received financial assistance to do so from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. However, its 2022 funding request was not awarded.
EAB, a small, metallic-green beetle native to Asia, threatens the ash tree population because its larvae burrow into the bark of those trees and cause them to starve and eventually die.
Given the magnitude of the ash tree population within Bellevue, as well as the repercussions of not removing infested trees in a timely manner, Waszak recommended removing and replacing at least 150 trees this year.
The village budgeted $48,250 for this project to remove and replace an estimated 100 trees.
Press Times Editor Heather Graves, Staff Writers Kevin Boneske and Josh Staloch and Correspondent Lee Reinsch contributed to these briefs.