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Marinette Council Split Between City Hall or Civic Center Upgrades

The Marinette City Council seems evenly split between improvements to the Civic Center Recreation Facilities and renovating or rebuilding the City Hall and Police station as the city’s highest priority capital development project. Alderpersons Martha Karban, Pam Goes, David Buechler, and Dorothy Kowalski told the Council members at a special committee meeting of the whole council on Monday, May 12 that some aspects of the Civic Center should have first priority. 

Alderpersons Bradley Behrendt, Dennis Colburn, and Ken Keller were joined by Mayor Denise Ruleau in advocating the needs of the City Hall Administration and Police Station as the highest priority. Alderperson Shirley Kaufman mentioned the City Hall first, and also stated her opposition to relocating the City Hall and Police Department to the old Marinette County Jail on Ella Court.

All who advocated for prioritizing City Hall made the Civic Center their second choice, and all who wanted to deal first with the Civic Center made City Hall their second choice.

Behrendt in particular recommended working with Marinette County to remodel the old Jail and then rent the facility from the County for use as the City Hall and Police Station. He believes that this would be a cost-effective solution for the problems with the aging City Hall. Others believed that such a move would cause parking problems for city workers and public meetings. 

Colburn emphasized the safety issues in keeping the Police Department in the current city hall, especially when Police vehicles are stored outdoors. Kaufman believes that the Ella Court building needs too much remodeling to make such a move practical and that the Police Department in particular should not be moved there. 

Others advocated moving the Police Department into a new facility on the grounds of the County’s Law Enforcement Center.

Karban told the group that the locker rooms at the Civic Center were “awkward” and most in need of renovation. Goes emphasized the pool at the civic center, and wanted more information about the possibility of installing a liner in the pool to add to its useful life, while others believed that the pool deck should also be repaired and relined as part of the project. 

Colburn and Keller advocated replacing the dome over the hockey rink, and Keller wanted to explore the possibility of using synthetic ice in the rink. No one placed a high priority on the domes housing the tennis courts

Kowalski advocated improvements to the fire station to have a women’s shower area and to upgrade the men’s shower area. As more women become firefighters, these issues of gender equity will have an impact on Marinette’s fire department.

Finance Director Jacqueline Miller estimated that the city could borrow about $6,000,000 without damaging its bond raiting. The Water and Wastewater Utility may want to borrow some money for capital projects this year and the city will be required to fund $600,000 of the $3,000,000 needed for next year’s Riverside Avenue reconstruction.

City Clerk Jim Anderson will compile the results of the informal polling of Council members, and Colburn will ask Recreation Director Kent Kostelecky to obtain as much information about the cost and impact of the proposed pool liner as possible. The Council will then discuss the results at its regular meeting on June 3.


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