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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Council OKs Land Sale To Tri-Tec

Issue Date: October 6, 2021

During a brief open session at the start of its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5, Peshtigo City Council set Halloween Trick or Treat hours for 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, approved a Peshtigo High School fireworks display permit for Friday, Oct. 15, and approved a street use permit for the Peshtigo Historical Society for a Peshtigo Fire Anniversary Memorial Walk on Friday, Oct. 8.

At 7:15 p.m., with regular business completed, Council went into a closed session for a discussion on three items - Town of Peshtigo water supply; wastewater treatment, sewer, and PFAS-related issues, and Industrial Park - Tri-Tec Manufacturing, LLC.

At 8:35 p.m. they returned to the open session and voted without dissent in favor of a motion to approve selling Lot 81 of the Pine View Commercial and Industrial Park 3rd Addition to Tri-Tec Manufacturing LLC. Price for the 4.9 acres was set at $7,800. It was explained that the city generally charges $2,000 an acre for land in the Commercial/Industrial Park that will be used for economic development, but Council took $2,000 off the price because there is approximately an acre of wetland on the adjoining property Tri-Tec had previously purchased from the city and the parcel they are buying now.

Present and voting in favor were Aldermen John Berendt, Debbie Sievert, Rick Berth, Katie Berman and Keith Klimek. Alderman Brigitte Schmidt was absent.

No action was taken on the water and wastewater issues.

At the start of the meeting, before approving minutes from the Sept. 7 meeting, Berth asked why the salary of Fred Popp as the new police chief had been set at $69,000 per year when Chief Rick Badgley had been paid only $63,000 per year. Malke said benefits were the main issue, and Popp has a lot of experience and training in law enforcement. Clerk/ Treasurer Tammy Kasal said Badgley, because of his long-time employment with the City of Peshtigo, had been "grandfathered," and was exempt from contributing toward the cost of his retirement benefits, while the new chief is required to pay a percentage of that expense, so the overall cost is nearly equal.

Talk turned to Trick or Treat hours, which in prior years had been from 4 to 6 p.m. on Halloween. Berman wondered if it might be better to start and finish earlier on Sunday to get kids home in bed earlier. Tom Gryzwa, from the audience, commented the earlier hours would be safer too, because Daylight Savings Time ends on Saturday night, and darkness will fall earlier on Sunday. The vote was unanimous in favor of the 3 to 5 p.m. Trick or Treat hours that Berman suggested.

Fire Chief Chuck Gardon explained the request for the street use permit for Friday, Oct. 8, the actual 150th anniversary of the Peshtigo Fire. He said the suggestion had arisen a week earlier, when members of the Fire Department met with Peshtigo Historical Society to make plans for the annual Fall Conference of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin, which is being held in Peshtigo on Oct. 7, 8, and 9 this year due to the fire sesquicentennial.

Part of the conference program includes a gathering at Riverfront Park and then a group walk to the Fire Museum on Oconto Ave. for a half-hour outdoor presentation there. Gardon said they expect about 100 participants, including the 58 Conference visitors, members of the Peshtigo Historical Society, and members of the public. A group of that size walking through downtown Peshtigo with traffic, as usual, could pose some safety problems, particularly at the stoplights, Gardon said.

He proposed parking fire trucks at strategic points to block the traffic while the crowd passes through, and on Oconto Ave. near the museum for the approximate half-hour program there.

Mary Lock, on behalf of the Historical Society, said the program is to begin at the Museum at 7:30 p.m.. and at 8 p.m. the bells will toll, after which people will begin to disperse.

Without dissent, Council agreed to have the streets blocked as Gardon described from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Malke explained the request from Rebecca DeMarce for a fireworks display permit for Peshtigo High School was just a change of date from the permit that was previously approved as part of the Homecoming festivities on Friday, Oct. 1. The homecoming had been canceled. Malke said nothing had changed about the fireworks except the date.

Just before the meeting adjourned Mayor Cathi Malke thanked John Bayer for donating gourds and pumpkins for fall decor for city's beautification and thanked Mark and John Berth for donating the use of riser stands for the Historical Dinner Show presentation.


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