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Gays Mills Village Board approves first buyout
gays mills village board

GAYS MILLS - The first residential property buyout in Gays Mills, as a result of the August-September 2018 flood, was approved by the village board at their meeting on July 1, 2019.

The proposal to have Crawford County use Community Development Block Grant funds to acquire the heavily damaged house at 111 Park Street was presented by consultant Dale Klemme from Community Development Alternatives.  CDA is a Prairie  du Chien-based consulting firm and has worked with the village on previous flood recovery work–as well as a host of municipal projects.

Klemme told the board that the property seemed a likely candidate for the buyout because the cost of elevating the property was estimated at around $35,000 and the owners would incur $37,000 to $42,000 of repair costs after the elevation. The consultant also noted that there currently was no funding available to assist with elevations.

Village trustee Larry McCarn made a motion to approve the CDBG-EAP-funded acquisition of the property by the county. The motion was second by Aaron Fortney and passed by the board.

Meanwhile, another stalled property acquisition seemed to lurch forward with an action approved by the board Monday night. The Song’s Mushroom Farm, located in the former Gays Mills High School building, was previously approved by the village board for acquisiton and demolition. The costs are to be funded jointly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Federal Emergency Management Administration. 

The DNR has approved its 50 percent contribution to the buyout and demolition, but FEMA has yet to give its final approval to the project, according to Klemme. The consultant presented a proposal from CDA to administer a $7,500 grant from the DNR to oversee project setup, offer to purchase, complete acquisition, solicit bids, coordinate asbestos inspection, coordinate asbestos abatement, and coordinate demolition.

Klemme informed the board that FEMA is completing a historical review of the property. The project needs FEMA funding to proceed.

Larry McCarn made a motion to approve contracting with CDA to administer the DNR grant as outlined. The motion was seconded by Kevin Murray and passed by the board.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• learned that funded forestry projects did not cost as much as budgeted and there was $6,000 of grant money left

• approved having village forester Cindy Kohles use the surplus grant funds to pursue hazardous tree removal, mature tree pruning and terrace tree planting–as she sees fit

• heard from Kickapoo Culinary Center Director Brad Niemcek that the village’s shared-use kitchen showed a profit for the second quarter of 2019

• learned from Niemcek the kitchen’s seven-year-old walk-in cooler needs maintenance

• tabled action on pursuing mosquito fogging after a lengthy discussion of the advantages, disadvantages and possible hazards of fogging in the village

• agreed the village should work on clean up around the Song’s Mushroom Farm–including some clutter placed there by the village

• tabled action on spending $1,000 to restore water service to the Lions Club Shelter in Lions Park–as some trustees questioned the need for the service

• declined a request from Driftless Wisconsin for sponsorship because the money had not been budgeted

• approved a $100 donation to Crawford County Clean Sweep scheduled for October 25

• scheduled the next regular board meeting for Monday, Aug. 5