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Dredging pond to be discussed
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Plans for dredging the pond, known as the Cutoff Slough, on the north side of the Gays Mills Village Hall will be discussed at a community meeting sometime after the holidays, according to Gays Mills Economic Development Association (GMEDA) provisional member Brad Niemcek.

Niemcek shared the information at the Gays Mills Village Board at their regular monthly meeting held on Monday, Nov. 3.

The tentatively planned dredging meeting will cover economic development plans revolving around the concepts of creating a trail, building an elevated boardwalk, and dredging to increase recreational use of the wetland, Niemcek noted.

Niemcek also asked for input on the wording for the warning signs along the river to warn boaters of the dam. The board decided to hand the wording decision back to the committee handling the issue.

The Kickapoo Culinary Center will be gaining asset value, reported Niemcek in his role as manager of the community kitchen.

The Wisconsin Business Incubation Association (WBIA) owns the digital conferencing equipment installed at the Kickapoo Culinary Center. The WBIA has chosen to give the equipment to the village, an asset worth around $14,000 according to Niemcek.

Additionally, Chef Monique Hooker’s business Got2HavePie is negotiating the purchase of a blast chiller with a USDA grant. Specifications of the grant mean that when Hooker no longer needs or wants the piece of equipment, it will become the property of the community kitchen.

Niemcek has been managing the kitchen through an agreement between the village and GMEDA. That agreement is coming to an end with the year.

“GMEDA is offering to continue managing the kitchen for 2015 as they have done in the past,” Niemcek said. “And we will be paying the village $1,500 this year. That is half the revenue. It’s not much, but it is a step in the right direction.”

Paying for the use of the unused Gays Mills Industrial Park land was discussed at some length.

The village pays for mowing upkeep on the property as the owner. Trustees John Johnson would like to trim the cost from the village budget, if possible.

Johnson and fellow trustee Ed Block agreed to contact some area farmers to see if they have interest in renting the available land and what they would be willing to pay. Village Clerk Dawn McCann would supply Block with a plat map so they could determine the exact acreage available.

The rules governing use of land in the park need to be checked as well, according to Village President Harry Heisz. Heisz expressed concern that the rules may exclude cropping industrial park property.

BAPI (Building Automation Products, Inc.) owner Ritch Stevenson had expressed disagreement with the land being used in that manner, according to Heisz.

“If Ritchie wants it mowed like a yard, he can rent it and mow it,” quipped Johnson.

Heisz noted that the board needed to make sure of legality, interest, rent, and current upkeep costs before they could move forward with any plan for the property.

The board reviewed the new FEMA flood insurance rate map. The new map makes few changes, according to Heisz.

Village residents who want to contest any changes have until December 10 to do so.

Richland Center resident Bill Mort spoke to the board about deterioration of the cabins in the log cabin park.

“Concrete chinking was a poor choice when these were being restored,” Mort noted. “It is contributing to the wood rot issues.’

Mort is retiring in the coming year and offered his time to seek funding to work on restoring the six remaining structures at the site. There were eight structures in prior years. Of those remaining, the Barker Cabin, the Tucker-O’Brien Log Cabin, and the Wauzeka Ridge School House are most in need of repair, Mort informed the board.

The board is seeking a volunteer for the Crawford County Economic Development Corporation Board. Nicole Fortney, who has chosen to step down, has held the position.

Ed Block suggested contacting village resident Rachel Jovi to see if she would be interested in representing the village due to her experience working for the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• heard that Jamie Goldsmith from the Richland Grant Telephone Co-op is working on getting the equipment to improve the sound system in the community room of the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center

• heard from Block that installation of new LED street lights on Main Street and planting of flower bulbs on village property had been completed

• heard from Jess Johnson that the state statute governing speed limits within the village appeared to give the village authority to lower and raise limits to within 10 mile, plus or minus, of speeds determined by the space between structures

• heard that Heisz would need to meet with Jay Haggerty to address brush that needs to be cleared before the storm sewer drain work at Haggerty’s 411 Orin Street residence can be addressed

• approved a rental fee waiver for Miriam Simmons use of the Gays Mills Community Building for fitness classes through December

• heard that 15 to 20 gallons of paint are needed for the interior of Gays Mills Community Building, located at 212 Main Street

• approved renaming the Gays Mills Community Building at 212 Main Street to 212 Main and replacing the sign above the entrance

• received the 2013 village audit report from Johnson and Block

• tabled the decision on the bids for property and liability insurance

• approved operator’s license applications for Travis Polodna and Abby Olson

• scheduled the next village board meeting for Monday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.