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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Change Reservation Rules for Historical Days Park Campsites

Issue Date: September 5, 2019

The Peshtigo City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3 included a long discussion on camping reservations at Badger Park Campground for the hugely popular Historical Day weekend that is coming up on the last weekend of this month. The discussion ended with what may be an unpopular decision to honor this year's reservations, but then not allow the campers to immediately reserve their campsites for next year.

The action came after Campground Host Mike White explained that under current policy, campers who have paid the $1,400 price for a season-long campsite are required to move to open their spots for weekend campers who paid $59 for the spot they reserved a year ago.

Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Brigitte Schmidt explained she was asking that the issue be aired by the full Council rather than in committee because a decision was needed prior to this year's Historical Day.

White explained there are two campers willing to pay tomorrow for season passes for next year, provided they would not be forced to move for Historical Day.

He said each year on that final weekend of September the entire Badger Park Campground is filled to overflowing, with even beach sites opened for camping. White said he himself will have to abandon his host duties and move out on that weekend because someone else reserved that spot a year ago.

"I know if you change the policy you will upset a lot of people," White declared.

Malke felt if there are five campers willing to pay for an entire season they should be given preference.

Alderman Mike Behnke commented the original intent had been to get sewers run to five campsites in the park and reserve them for season-long users, but right now only one of those sites has been connected. He added that the campground host is needed and should never be displaced.

White declared people love the campground, as he does, and it's all about people having a good time there.

The campground generally closes for the season in mid-October after the popular Fright Night festivities are over, and reopens in spring after the weather warms and the ground thaws.

After discussing various ways of handling the issue Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to allow potential campers to make reservations now or at any time for next year's entire season with payment due when the reservation is made, and not allow short-term reservations until after Jan. 1.

Schmidt suggested they should offer the full season option now for campers who may want to reserve their spot for the entire season next year.

After the meeting Malke had some high praise for the work White has been doing as campground host. She said he had been mowing grass, washing restroom walls and planting perennial flowers at various spots to beautify the park, all for no compensation other than his campsite as Campground Host. She said he even has been using the city's skid steer loader to level gravel delivered by the Public Works Department to redo campsite pads.

The evening started at 6:45 p.m. with a public hearing on a resolution to abandon an unpaved alley south of McGraw Street between S. Peck Ave. and S. Ellis Ave. Vacating the alley had been requested by all adjoining property owners. No one spoke for or against the proposal at the public hearing, and at the 7 p.m. Council meeting that followed approval was unanimous.

Alderman John Berendt was absent. Aldermen present and voting in favor were Behnke, Schmidt, Jillian Schutte, Debbie Sievert and Archer Leupp.

Council approved a retailer's license application from Joe Nystrom on behalf of the Peshtigo Historical Day from Friday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 29, and also approved a fire works display permit for Saturday, Sept. 28 after being assured by Fire Chief Steve Anderson that he had no problem with it provided they follow NFPA rules and instructions from the vendor.

Council accepted the low bid of Harter's Fox Valley disposal for recycling bi-weekly recycling collection services at $5 per month per residence and authorized Public Works Director George Cowell and City Attorney David Spangenberg to notify Advanced Disposal that their contract is not being renewed. Currently garbage collection duties are handled directly by city employees through the Public Works Department. The city is in the process of possibly purchasing a new garbage truck.

Resignation of Barb Baumann from the Board of Appeals was accepted. Malke expressed thanks to Baumann for her 22 years of service on the Board and commented lately there has been a lot of stress and a large number of meetings in connection with that board. Behnke agreed Baumann has done a wonderful job.

Malke's appointment of Ron Strojny to replace her was approved without dissent.

Also accepted was the resignation of Don Belonga from the Plan Commission, along with thanks for his many years of service. Malke said she has someone in mind to replace him but is waiting for an answer from that person. At her request there was no action at this time on filling the position that Belonga had resigned.

Resignations of Jim Finger and Marlene Michalski from the Peshtigo Housing Authority were approved. Kathy Marquardt and Allen England were appointed to fill those positions, and Sharon Anderson was reappointed for another 3-year term as a Peshtigo Housing Authority Commissioner effective on Tuesday, Oct. 1. All were thanked for their services to the city.

Tatum Schroeder's plans for the building they intend to construct on Lot 10 in the Pine View Commercial Park Subdivision as a product showroom and headquarters for their NEW Schroeder Construction Company were readily approved.

After brief discussion Cowell was authorized to advertise for hiring seasonal employees and if none are accepted contact appropriate temp service employment agencies for the seasonal employees he needs. There were suggestions to give this authority to Cowell on a permanent basis but Cowell said he would prefer to leave the process as it is. He said he will have a number of workers on vacation in the coming weeks.

During time for public comment LeRoy Spitzmacher asked the city to allocate money for a sidewalk from French Street to the side door entrance to the Municipal Building, and also commented that trees on some streets are too close to the intersections. He said because of vehicle height differences there is not a problem for cars, but there is for trucks. Malke suggested he let Cowell know where the problem trees are located.

Cowell reported the recent storms uprooted numerous trees in the city, tearing them out by the roots and snapped off several more.

He said top soil is now being replaced on tree lawns, sidewalks are being repaired and stumps are being removed. There was a 2-acre area of trees laid down, preventing city crews from getting to their river crossing and they worked with a local logging company to get that access opened and the trees removed.

Also, Cowell said numerous branches were broken off high in trees and are lodged there. He urged anyone who looks up and sees a branch with dying leaves to call him so they can take care of it before it falls.

Also due to the storms, lots of sink holes developed, especially around manholes, and these are being repaired, Cowell said.

He cautioned anyone with a private well to be sure they have it identified and registered. The DNR is coming soon for a community inspection and anyone with an unregistered private well will be getting a citation, Cowell said. He added there is no other option. He knows of five private well owners who have not taken the time to register them, and they will be getting citations if that is not taken care of very soon.

In regard to the PFAS content in the wastewater treatment plant sludge, Cowell said the main storage tank has been emptied into the reserve tank and they are cleaning the main tank with fire hoses to ensure that it is clean before returning it to use. They will then test in three months for PFAS and PFOS content. Meanwhile he and several staff members will meet with the DNR to determine what they can do to protect the city's utility from that problem in the future.

Also under time for Public Comment Jane Kopish Sequin introduced herself as a candidate for Marinette County Circuit Court Judge to replace Judge David Miron who has announced plans to retire when his term ends in spring.

She is the daughter of Bill and Donna Kopish. She is a 1981 graduate of Marinette Catholic Central High School and obtained her law degree from Marquette in 1988. She practiced for a time with the Kopish, Miron and Boyle Law firm in Marinette, served as Family Court Commissioner in Brown County and since April 3 has served as Marinette County Family Court Commissioner. She said she is the only candidate for the judicial position who has experience with being on the bench, and described herself as a very even tempered person who will be able to stop emotion and maintain decorum and respect in the courtroom. She said her goal will be to have people leave the courtroom feeling like they've had their day in court, whether they win or lose.


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PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
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