Green Lake Common Council 1-11-2021

The Green Lake Common Council discusses a host of issues at its meeting Monday night. 

The Green Lake Common Council met Monday and discussed reopening the City Hall Gym for recreational use, the city's investment in the Heidel House redevelopment and more. 

Here are the top-five takeaways from the meeting:

1. City Hall Gym to reopen for recreational use, with precautions

The Green Lake City Hall Gym will reopen for recreational use, however, those using the gym must follow safety guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Common Council voted 5-1 to reopen the gym with Ald. Liane Walsh casting the lone vote in opposition.

That vote allows student groups to use the gym as long as they sanitize their hands, undergo temperature checks before entering the facility, bring their own balls, wipe them down, keep a log of who is using the gym as well as follow other public health guidelines for masking and social distancing already in place at City Hall.

Additionally, coaches or adult supervisors will be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the gym after recreational use, while the city reserves the right to prohibit groups that violate social distancing guidelines from using the gym.

Ald. Danielle Reysen introduced the proposal to the Common Council after constituents, specifically parents, reached out to her because their children were looking for more recreational opportunities during the winter months.

Reysen noted the group had children in 6th grade, who could not practice at school with 7th and 8th graders, so some children were practicing in a church gym in Princeton.

“With the WIAA [Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association] rules, 6th grade and above can play sports, so what's happening is that the 5th grade and below are finding their own places to go,” she said. “But the 6th graders are in this wishy washy area [because] they really have nowhere to go.”

She added that the groups that were interested in using the gym are typically all students in the same grade-level who have class together and follow social distancing guidelines throughout the day in school.

For more detailed story on the Common Council’s decision to reopen the City Hall Gym for recreational use, check back later to www.riponpress.com or purchase Thursday's issue of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

2. Green Lake will borrow $3 million to support the Heidel House redevelopment

The Common Council unanimously voted to borrow $3 million to support the Heidel House redevelopment.

During the Monday, Jan. 4 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Green Lake Common Council received a presentation from PMA Securities LLC Public Finance Director and the city’s financial advisor, Brian Della, regarding the investment.

Della, who appeared via Zoom, explained that the city entered into a developer’s agreement with Green Lake Hotel Group LLC in September. As part of the agreement, he noted Green Lake Hotel Group is guaranteeing the city a certain amount of “tax increment revenue” each year in return of the city’s investment of roughly $3 million or 60% of the project costs.

Tax increment revenue is additional property tax revenue that accrue only to the city due to investments it has made to improve the property.

According to Della, the developer believes project expenses will be great enough to warrant the full $3 million cash grant from the city, which will be distributed in two disbursements.

The first is slated for March 15 and the second is due when the Heidel House is open for operation, which is estimated to be in May of this year.

3. Common Council approves fire truck purchase

The Common Council approved the purchase of a fire truck Monday night after receiving a presentation from Green Lake/Brooklyn Fire Chief Bill Wagner, expressing the need for a new fire truck.

During the Jan. 4 Green Lake Committee of the Whole meeting, Wagner noted the fire commission is looking to replace its 1994 Darley/Spartan fire engine with a newer Darley/Freightliner truck, which costs an estimated $460,000, according to a document provided to the Green Lake Common Council.

Green Lake will spend $55,000 on a new fire truck, while the town of Brooklyn is expected to approve funding it’s $55,000 share of the fire truck Tuesday night.

4. Short-term rental advisory referendum

The Common Council voted 5-1 to draft an advisory referendum after a presentation from committee chairman Jon McConnell at next month’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

The vote came after last week Thursday’s contentious ad hoc committee on short-term rentals, Mayor Ray Radis noted the committee remained “polarized.”

Throughout the contentious meeting, one of the main sticking points was whether to place a cap on the total number of short-term rentals allowed in residential zoning districts.

The talk of establishing clearer guidelines for short-term rentals come at a time when the city’s residential population is declining and aging.

Before the ad hoc committee meeting, it had found consensus on roughly 85% of a potential ordinance that would have included a grandfather clause for renters in good standing and require short-term rental owners to register for a permit with the city.

Even so, the advisory referendum is designed to gauge public opinion regarding short-term rentals and guide the Common Council as it works to address the issue.

5. Revamped city website coming

The Common Council also approved two measures meant to help make city resources more accessible to the public and local officials.

The city of Green Lake will spend $1,200 on a partnership with Iron Mountain Document Capture Services to digitize all of the city’s ordinances and municipal codes to create a searchable database.

Likewise, the Common Council also approved spending $1,200 on a separate partnership with Kunkel Engineering Group to create an online interactive zoning map for the city of Green Lake.

Joe Schulz served as the reporter of the Green Laker in 2019 and 2020, before being hired as a reporter for the Commonwealth in October 2020. He is from Oshkosh and will be graduating from UW-Oshkosh with a degree in journalism in December.

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