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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Marinette Council Hears Menekaunee Water Issues

Issue Date: August 5, 2020

Prior to the City of Marinette Common Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 4, a special Board of Public Works meeting was held fto discuss and possible recommendation to the Council regarding a professional service agreement from Robert E. Lee for the 2020 Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program. Also on that agenda was discussion and possible recommendation of bid results regarding Hattie Street Bridge fishing platform concrete repairs.

The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) requires the City of Marinette to implement a municipal storm water program that manages urban non-point source pollution including illicit discharges. This service will be done by Robert E. Lee & Associates at $3,500 and any detect found will cost $80 per each lab analysis. City Engineer Brian Miller provided bid results for the Hattie Street Bridge Fishing Platform concrete repairs outlining two bids, Norcon Corporation of Schofield at $73,980 and Janke General Contractors at $147,200 with the cost to be shared equally between the City of Marinette and the City of Menominee. A motion was made to accept the bid for Norcon after Treasurer and Finance Director Jackie Miller asked "Is there a reason why their bid is half of the cost of the other bid? Was everything included in the Norcon bid or did they miss something or were they just looking at the Marinette side versus both sides"? City Engineer Miller said, "No it's the whole bridge". It was then suggested to go with the lower price bid from Norcon. Later in the meeting, both items were approved as presented.

The special Public Works meeting was then followed by two Public Hearings, to receive comment regarding discontinuing or vacating a portion of a Public Way located at 1515 Main Street, behind the former Bay Area Medical Center parking lot. The other was to amend a portion of the text of the Marinette Zoning Code to allow a conditional use permit for an Automobile Body Shop - Light Machining and Fabrication that is zoned as a local shopping district. Later in the meeting both were approved.

After word of a signed petition being circulated in regards to the poor condition of property and roads in the Menekaunee Red Arrow Park area due to high water levels, the City reacted and did pumping at Red Arrow to help alleviate the flooding. The item was also added onto the Tuesday, Aug. 4 agenda.

Several residents in that area spoke in public comment including Kathy Korchak who lives on Bayview Street and was first to speak. In well deserved frustration, Korchak said "A petition was submitted to the City on Tuesday, Aug. 4 to inform Council that citizens would like a permanent fix to the flooding situation on the east side of town. A levy was erected in 1972 during high flooding when there were severe storms and high bay water levels, yet the levy holds back bay waters, but flooding still occurs because of no drainage system or pumping. The Army Corp of Engineers, who erected the levy used pumps to eliminate the problem in 1986 when there were record levels of rain over 48". It was then taken over by the city in 1987 when flooding was pumped by the Department of Public Works. The Corp of Engineers was contacted and were told that city officials needed to take care of it and they need to contact the County State and Federal levels. In 2019 record levels of rain occurred again even more so than in 1986 or the 48" that fell. Residents in the area have been asking the city to pump and take care of the problem to no avail. Numerous times it was asked to be put on the agenda, we were told it was a dead issue, why? We are taxpayers in this community too and we deserve to be heard. In the meantime, roads are all under water being washed out with wooden planking from years ago showing in some areas. Pot holes and mud are what our roads are now. Because of the city refusing to take care of the area, residents have lost most of their property including their lawns, trees, shrubs, fruit trees and flower beds. Some residents needed to wear boots to get to their homes or to get their mail This area is not only used by residents that live there but by many in the community. Red Arrow Park and its beach has been a treasure to the area for many years. Its time to start taking care of the Menekaunee area that seems to be forgotten by city officials. Its time to start taking action and get things done before all is lost. I would like to 'thank' the city officials for finally trying to pump the area, it has helped tremendously as you can tell by the pictures I submitted. One picture is before pumping of roads and an aerial view of the property and the other is after they pumped the water Unfortunately it is too little too late, what has been done to the area didn't have to happen if action was taken right away. I lived in this area all my life and have never seen Red Arrow Park in such poor condition".

Frank Korchak, husband of Kathy Korchak then spoke, "I lived in this area most of my life. In 1972 when levy was built it started at Alimeda Street all the way around towards Red Arrow, back up to Ogden Street and now its the Menekaunee walkway and our new nature trail. The outside of the dike had white stone rock and looked pretty, but that was 50 years ago and now it is in tough shape, no maintenance or nothing was done on it. They ran the storm sewer on Lake Street down into the swamp and now the swamp is full and Alimeda and Russell are all under water. Now when they did pump last week it all dried up, where did it go? Over the levy? It should have been pumped out last year and this Spring and the roads would have been dry. All the labor with the barricades, stone rock, fighting with the barricades it would have been dry and we wouldn't have all this problem with the roads and they wouldn't have been in this bad of shape if they would have pumped it and maintained it. You should take a ride down there, Bayveiw Street, Alimeda, Hillis Court, Bird Street were all under water, now their dry but their in such rough shape they are terrible. I talked to people in the State, they couldn't believe it, Why did you let this area go down so bad? People go to what was a beautiful beach, beautiful area and they just let it go why? They should have some kind of pumping station or get pumps. There is money available from the Federal Government and FEMA and you can get pumps everywhere for little or nothing. All you have to do is put the pump in and let it run for a few days. You don't have to have somebody standing there, let it run all day, thats what they did in 1986. We gotta get something done! You can get federal aid. You could solve the problem with a little bit of simple labor. At the very least, I would like to put this on the agenda next month to see if we could solve the problem, don't just give it a temporary fix".

Peter Redland then commented, "I lived here four years on Alimeda Street and we have a wonderful town and I am glad to live here. I am one of those people that walked in and out of their house with boots on". Redland then addressed the Mayor saying, "It is my understanding sir that you said they should start pumping, I am just hear to say thank you, You made a tremendous difference in my yard and the local streets and whatever you can do to monitor that level and occasionally pump would be very appreciated. I don't know the ins and outs or all the science behind it but thank you Mayor and all the persons involved for doing what you did. Thank you".

Fran Heck of Hillis Court then spoke, "I live on Hillis Court, you know where thats at Mayor, you were down on the corner a couple of times with Keller. Without naming any names, I think you should talk to some of these alderman, because you asked them a very simple question and the answer you get to one of them was: Call President Trump he might help. I don't think that is called for, not when you are dead serious. We have had that whole block for years as our yard and now we got nothing but water on the end with ducks and geese and everything else swimming around. It is ridiculous when you cant even get some common sense out of your alderman, its ridiculous"!

Later in the meeting, it was approved to accept the petition and move to the Public Works Department agenda for further discussion on recommendation from Alderperson at Large, Dorothy Kowalski. Alderperson, Rick Polzin questioned, "Is there some kind of interim action we can take, are we going to continue to pump in the interim". Mayor Steve Genisot answered, "There was about a week of pumping that we did". Met with opposition from the audience saying "NO it was two days" Genisot then asked Water-Waste Water Operations Manager Warren Howard how many days they pumped and Howard responded, four days. Again met with comments from the audience "Two days! Two days! Was it full days or half days"? Howard again replied four days. Genisot said, "There will be some short term and long term solutions". Alderman Jeff Skorik stated "I would just appreciate that the Water Department have the ability to respond if the water levels increase so that we can offer the citizens down there some temporary relief". Alderperson Ken Keller corrected Skorik saying, "This is not the function of the Water Department, it would be under Public Works".

In his report, Mayor Steve Genisot sadly reported that Sandy Saunier who was a past member of the council has passed away. She was very instrumental in working with Menekaunee and the picnic every year. I just wanted to make you aware of that, she was certainly a fine person and will be missed".

On the positive side, Genisot advised he received a letter from a resident of Park Ridge Ill, William Hominick, who was passing through Marinette on a motorcycle trip with a group of 16 motorcyclists when one of the bikers experienced a flat tire, so they turned into Stephenson Island. Hominick stated in the letter, shortly thereafter, Sergeant Matt Borths entered Stephenson Island and with a positive upbeat attitude, he saw that we needed assistance. Borths assured them he was happy to help. This was all before Hominick identified himself as a retired police commander that was traveling with other retired police and fire persons.

Hominick was impressed with Borths, especially in these times with the atmosphere toward law enforcement, along with law enforcements response is sometimes not positive. Borths not only responded that he thought we needed help, he displayed a welcoming smile and demeanor. When Hominick mentioned the current political anti-law enforcement environment with him and his positive helping, Borths responded," That's our job and we follow our Chief in providing excellent service to all". Borths then advised of locations of where they could get the tire fixed and said he would stay with the downed bike while it traveled there to be sure the driver and bike was safe. Borths then left them with "Have a great day. We're here if you need us again".

Genisot then stated, "In todays age we have a lot of times when our departments are overlooked for what they do and thought it was appropriate to recognize the Police Department. Borths certainly set a positive attitude for the entire department and good representation for the city. I would like to say thank you to the chief and Borths. In these times it is good to get a positive letter".

In a recommendation from Personnel and License Committee, Council approved 13 of 14 new Operator Liquor License including: Justin Braley, Briana Biehl, Annie Brooks, Makayla Hansen, Tammy Hasenfus, Lonella Hintson, Lauren Lunsford, Laura Lynch, Matthew Schweiger, Crystal Peterson, Kathy Pickl, Melinda Rutgers and Tyler Uecke.

Also recommended and approved were all 26 applications with no restrictions for renewal Operator License including, Megan Bohn, Candace Cummings, Nathan Djupstrom, Shari Eeatherton, Denise Ferdon, Kirstyn Folgert, Jackie Grenfell, Gloryia Grinsteiner, Renee Heinz, Denise Klein, Elizabeh Kuppen, Ashley Labresh, Sarah Lukowski, Howard Mayer, Amber Miller, Eve Pesola, Chelsie Pfeff, Andrea Raygo, Timothy Rogers, Suzanne Rybak, Kristi Thoreson, Jean Todzy, Travis Walk, Stacey Wangerin, Brittany Williams ad Stacy Zelm.

One late renewal Alcoholic Beverage License application for the Cactus Bar for Class B fermented beverage and liquor for Zachary Maye was approved for renewal .






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