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Former community building to remain open until fall
In Gays Mills
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The old Gays Mills Community Building at 212 Main Street will continue to house a variety of activities through the summer and into the fall, the village board decided at their meeting on Monday, May 6.

Gays Mills Village Trustee Harry Heisz made the motion to allow the building to be open for rent at $10 per hour through Oct. 1, when the board will re-evaluate the situation. The action came following the report from an ad hoc group of citizens, who favor keeping the building open for use by the public.

Board members were presented with a written statement prepared by Bob Van Hoesen outlining work the group had done around the building in the last month or two. The building is still home to Second Harvest, the monthly mobile food pantry, as well as a monthly ‘Teens for Truth’ event and an exercise class, among other things.

While village trustees, like Heisz, have concerns that having the building open may detract from rentals of the new Gays Mills Community Commerce Center located on Highway 131, they see the value of allowing residents to use the building.

CouleeCap’s Kahya Fox told the board during her report that the last single home being built in the relocation area is currently under construction and should be completed in June. She also noted that all of the 16 apartments constructed in partnerships with CouleeCap are currently rented and there is a waiting list for people wanting to rent apartments.

Fox also told the board that CouleeCap has received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Administration to spend more than 50 percent of fair market value of rental properties in the floodplain being elevated with Community Development Block Grant funding, if the elevation effectively removes the property from being in the floodplain.

As part of the decision to allow greater spending in the affordable housing rental elevation, Fox discussed with the board a request for a zoning variance allowing the construction of a retaining wall at 218 Park Street to facilitate the elevation of that rental property. The request will go before the zoning board for approval.

Kickapoo  Culinary Center Director Brad Niemcek told the board that he was proud to announce the launch of the first bakery business at the shared-use community kitchen.

Chef Monique Hooker has begun to make frozen piecrust and puff pastry dough, according to Niemcek. The new business will immediately create two new part-time jobs and hopefully more in the future.

Niemcek told the board about other interest in the kitchen and noted the community room has become popular with area party planners.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• approved the bid proposals of Showen Excavating to move or demolish buyout residences at 211 Orin Street, 210 Park Street and 102 School Street

• agreed to lease a property at 102 School Street for us as a garden space after the residence has been removed

• tabled decisions on the sale of the three properties and 111 Highway 171 until deed restrictions on their use can be clearly defined by Stan Kaitfors of the Wisconsin Department of Administration

• approved a water tower cleaning bid of $15,000

• agreed to an easement document from RGTC, the telephone co-op, for use of property in the Lions Park area

• approved the hiring recommendations of personnel committee for the swimming pool staff to include Jen Klekamp as pool manager, Nichelle Martin as assistant manager and Hannah Pedersen as head lifeguard

• approved an agreement with Ocooch Mountain Rescue that included a $3,500 contribution toward the EMS unit’s operation

• asked for more clarification of Weiser Brother plans to spend the remaining $4,5000 in EDA funds building an enclosure around the Mercantile Center’s chiller unit and creating a flag pole base at the Community Commerce Center

• approved an updated Crawford County Land Conservation  Department Shared Resource and Information Agreement as part of assistance in enforcing the non-metallic mine ordinance

• approved committee assignments

• agreed to leave the dog and cat ordinance as it is written but enforce provisions limiting the amount of animals

• approved a request for gardening on an empty lot at Main Street and Railroad Street by the Village Stewards

• approved a request of Dennis Kern to rehearse his play in the Gays Mills Mercantile Center until space at North Crawford Schools opens up in July

• tabled approving a temporary limited easement to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for the Del La Mater Creek Bridge Project near Brockway Trucking on Highway 131

• approved a temporary Class ‘B’ and Class ‘B’ Liquor license application from May 11 for the Kickapoo Cultural Exchange at 209 Main Street

• approved operator’s license applications of Ronald McCormick (Halvers) and Robert Brewster (KEX)