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Committee Okays Autistic Child Signs

In an letter dated April 11, Peshtigo resident Joseph Mans asked the city to install signs stating, “Autistic Child in the Area” near his home at 260 S. Noquebay Ave. That request was granted after brief discussion at the Streets and Drainage Committee meeting Tuesday, April 29, but apparently it generated a certain amount of public interest, not locally but in Green Bay.

Committee member Mike Behnke and Committee Chair Debbie Sievert and Public Works Director George Cowell all said they had received calls from Channel 5 TV news in regard to the request.

Neither anyone on the committee nor other city officials present for the meeting had any concerns about granting the request, other than Behnke’s question as to whether or not they would need an ordinance change to make it happen. Decision was they they would not. As Cowell pointed out, the two signs to be posted are advisory, not mandatory, and no one will be getting fines or traffic tickets because they exist.

“Apparently there’s controversy on this in the cities,” Behnke said. “I think a child’s safety is well worth the $60 cost of each sign.” He understands there had been so many requests in Green Bay that they would have signs in every block.

Alderman Mary Lock, present for the meeting but not a member of the committee, said Mans had told her he plans to fence in his yard, “but this is a bigger child, not a toddler.” She said their are ordinances to provide for advisory signs.

The committee authorized Cowell to order and install two signs in the 200 block of S. Noquebay Ave.

After discussing a proposed sidewalk on Emery Ave. across from Peshtigo High School the committee decided to take no action.

Sievert said she had received complaints from a parent or two about kids crossing in traffic. She said she had looked and saw that there is no sidewalk, but there is a crosswalk. Sievert said one resident of the area said she had put a barricade in her driveway to prevent people from driving in to drop off their students.

Mayor Cathi Malke commented people drop kids off all along the river, and Behnke suggested if they put a sidewalk in anywhere, that’s where it should be.

Alderman Brigette Schmidt said the concern of the person who called her was that there is no crosswalk and no sidewalk to the next crosswalk next to the parking lot.

Cowell said there is a crosswalk, but it is to the north, and students going to the high school then would need to walk south again after crossing the street.

“If there was a place for a sidewalk, that’s a good place to put one,” Cowell said, agreeing with Behnke. He said sometimes people are going to the stadium and not the school, but they still need a place to walk. He said if the city wants to put in a sidewalk and the homeowner isn’t willing to cost share, they could do it by special assessment.

Behnke declared he has lived in Peshtigo for 55 years, and this is the first time he’s heard a complaint about lack of a sidewalk there. “One complaint in 55 years - that’s not bad,” he commented. He added the setback of the apartment building there, formerly Pearce Plumbing, is not very big, and a sidewalk would make the yard even smaller.

“Any place on that side, not only students, but their parents as well, cross anywhere they want,” declared Malke. Lock agreed that would be true, “no matter how many cross walks you put in.”

There was general discussion on where parents drop children off, and where they cross the streets. Schmidt said Elementary Principal Tammy Kielbassa had been telling parents to drop their children off in the Badger Park parking lot. There is a crossing guard on duty at the crossing from the park to the school property.

Malke reported she had met with District Administrator Kim Eparvier recently in regard to a Safe Routes to School grant. She learned the person who had been working on the grant was no longer employed by the school. She will look for more information.

The decision was to do nothing for now about the student crossing areas or the sidewalk issue.

Schmidt asked about handicapped parking spots in Badger Park. Malke said that was part of the Park Development grant, and the committee had agreed on where the signs will go in. They need to do a little leveling and perhaps put in a paved slab or two, she said.

There are some new requirements for more frequent and detailed bridge inspections, Cowell told the committee.

A letter had been received from the DNR advising that the city’s recycling grant will be $16,478 for the year. Cowell commented the annual cost of the city’s curbside recycling collection alone is $30,000. “They used to cover the whole thing,” he commented.

There was some discussion on probable future need to keep more recyclables out of the regular waste stream, particularly since it is going to MarOco Landfill now and not to the Waste Management landfill in Michigan.


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