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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Marinette Receives Dept. Of Administration Grant

Issue Date: June 3, 2021

Prior to the start of the City of Marinette Common Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 1, a special Board of Public Works (BPW) meeting was held to discuss a bid for the recreation facility panels and a 2021 line striping proposal.

Engineer Brian Miller said, "The original set of wall panels that were removed from the Rec Center are currently being stored at the City Garage site. The panels were listed on the Wisconsin Surplus Online Auction site and 54 bids were received during the bidding process. The highest bid was for $27,700 for 9,600 linear feet, leaving 3,020 linear feet of which the city will use for future projects". It was approved at the meeting and also later in the Council meeting.

Alderman Doug Oitzinger added, "This is a much better offer than what we received prior for all panels with a bid for $13,010. This is more than double the original bid and we are still retaining some of the panels".

Miller then addressed the committee to recommend to Council a 2021 line striping proposal from Marinette County Highway Department to do striping on various streets, yet to be determined in the City of Marinette. The County would be responsible for striping of single yellow line, double yellow line, dashed yellow line, single white line and dashed white line.

Miller added, "The County did a good job last year and worked very well with the city. There were no complaints of paint tracking on anything. It is on a time and material basis, with the total estimated project cost of $10,400". This was also approved at both Committee and Council level.

Oitzinger questioned putting bike lane striping on VanCleave and Hall Avenue. Miller replied, "We will have to co-ordinate with the DOT (Department of Transportation) and if they are not in favor of it, then we will bring back to the committee or council and advise of their decision".

After the BPW meeting, a special Personnel and License meeting was held to approve the pay range for Police Chief, Captain and Lieutenants especially for those who have been with the department five years or more to bring them to the 75 percentile pay structure. The pay amount for the five or more year mark would be $91,309 for Chief, $81,913 for Captain and $72,493 for Lieutenants with top level reflecting $96,594 Chief, $86,658 Captain and $76,691 for Lieutenants. This was also approved at both the Committee and Council levels.

Before moving into the Common Council meeting, one more item was on the agenda as a public hearing to address proposed changes to the eighth amendment 20 year comprehensive plan along with proposed zoning designation of two tax parcels. The request was to change one of the former Bellin Clinic buildings located at 1025 University Drive back to residential so the home can be purchased by Joe Giver and his wife to conform it back to a residential home.

Giver addressed the Council in public comment saying, "I was Fire Chief in Marinette from 1996 to 2006. We recently closed on our house in Pittsburgh and want to move back to Marinette. We are looking for support to approve the zoning so we can fix up the building back into a home and put it back to its original glory to make it our retirement home".

After the public hearing, it convened into the Common Council meeting and after acceptance of prior meeting minutes Mayor Steve Genisot in his Mayor's report stated, "Just a couple notations for the council, we will have a couple item followups for our meeting next week for bookkeeping, our report for the audit, we will have our joint Wastewater and Council meeting, followed by a business meeting, a meeting of the whole to discuss the GETS system with both Tyco - JCI (Johnson Control Inc) and DNR (Department of Natural Resources) participating. I also want to draw some attention to the Rec Center, we installed a new digital board sign at the center and it should be up and running in next couple of days along with the sign by Mickey Lu's has been updated and that will be up and running as well. I also encourage you to take a ride through the corridor from State Street, through the Park and to Mary Street. It is a very nice improvement along with eight tent sites that were added as well'.

Lastly, Genisot excitedly said, "I am very happy to announce that we were notified that we officially received notification from the US Department of Commerce on our Economic Development Administration Grant that we applied for in the amount of $3.895 million dollars was awarded and as part of that grant the city is required to do a 20% match. And as I announced at the prior Council meeting, we were awarded a $1 million dollar T-Grant, so we will have close to $5 million dollars. This will help support our infrastructure grant coming into the City which will include Ludington Street as well as Main Street construction as far as utilities as well, along with the Park and Eli garage portion. I will bring this to next weeks Council and ask the Council to formally approve the grant and start that process. This is a great opportunity for the City".

Genisot then asked for the approval of his appointment of Mr. John Marx to the Marinette Housing Authority Committee position beginning April 2021 thru 2023. The Housing Authority meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month at Marinette Apartments starting at 1:30 p.m.

UWGB, Marinette Campus Executive Officer, Cindy Bailey was excited to announce the possibility of bringing the NERR (National Estuarine Research Reserve) project to our region. Bailey said, "Wherever this lands, it will serve and benefit our region, no matter if it is in Green Bay, Door County or Marinette. UWGB now has a 16 county footprint all along Lake Michigan. This will assist our educators, residents and students in our area".

Emily Tyner, Director of Fresh Water Strategy at UWGB, Green Bay Campus then presented more information on the NERR. The NERR system is a national network of coastal areas dedicated to the study of estuarine systems. Each NERR site provides a living laboratory in which scientists and educators conduct research, outreach and education regarding our estuarine-based natural resources. Each site enhances place based research, creates distinct education resources, facilitates local stewardship of aquatic natural resources and supports local economic development. The freshwater estuaries in the Green Bay Ecosystem provide critical habitat for wildlife, improves water quality, creates recreational opportunities for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts and gives our communities a strong sense of place.

The regional impact of established reserves have exemplary visitor centers, providing international exposure and significant drawing power for tourists. The NERR also draws scholars and their funding from beyond Wisconsin and US borders, provide employment opportunities to the region and enhances the quality of scholarly activities. The center would be a draw for families, young talent, retirees and other visitors.

Brought forward to Council from the Personnel and License Committee were license renewals for three Class B Fermented malt liquor; 31 Class B combination; two Class C wine; 16 Class A fermented malt; 14 Class A intoxicating liquor and 17 Tobacco licenses.

There was a lengthy discussion to amend portions of an ordinance pertaining to the Historic Preservation Overlay District with a primary goal to get access to grants and tax breaks for the district.The committee was asking to amend the ordinance in regards to how structures are designated throughout the city which would mostly pertain to businesses and not so much as to residential. However in order to receive the grant it has to be all or nothing, meaning that businesses only cannot be designated without residential included.

Any work done on a historic property has to conform to what is set by the Historical Preservation Commission (HPC). The committee was asking to amend the ordinance to locally designate private owned properties as historical structures along with business owned structures.

Dan Kallgren, Historic Preservation Commission member said, "The Amendment would essentially establish a two step process by locally designating privately owned properties as historic properties. First step would be for the Historical Preservation Commission would recommend it be listed as a Historic property. That then would go to Council and would have final designation as to whether or not the property would be designated as a historic property or not. At that point owners can come to City Council to argue in favor or dispute. But the final designation would rest with Council decision.

Genisot questioned, "Just to clarify, Historic Preservation would make the recommendations and if it comes to Council then the property owner would come to Historic Preservation either ask or not to be asked to be put on the historic list but once they opt in they cant opt out. The appeal process would be either at the Historic Preservation level or go to Council"?

Yes that is correct, the Historic Preservation Commission could decide what to do with input from the property owner. The owner may say they are not interested and we could stop the process right there or the commission may decide this is a part of the historic fabric of the city and needs to be preserved. The commission would then forward that recommendation to Common Council and property owners would go to the Council and the owner has the option to say yes or no and the Council can then vote yay or nay.

Alderman Rick Polzin, said, "What this boils down to is the property owner not having a say and the Council having to say if their home is historic or not". Kallgren replied, "That is correct. The understanding is there are buildings that are as much a part of the city as they are as a persons portfolio. This is done very carefully with the idea that there are certain parts of the city that if gone, the City of Marinette would fundamentally be different".

Alderman Jason Flatt clarified saying. "The HPC must approve work on locally designated properties and recommendations may not be advisory. At no point does the HPCtell a property owner they have to do something. When a property owner says they want to make changes to their property they go to the HPC and at that point the HPC says yes these are good changes or not please do not proceed and if you disagree appeal it to Common Council. At that point the Council has the final say like anything else. The primary goal in doing this is to get access to the grant money and in order to get access to the grant money we have to have the no opt out. Council makes the final decision".

After further discussion, the motion to amend the ordinance failed with five nays and four yays.


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