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Plans to build Dollar General discussed at village board meeting
Gays Mills
gays mills village board

GAYS MILLS - It appears that Gays Mills may be getting a Dollar General store in the near future.

A closely held secret about the intent of a group, called the Golden Warriors, to buy land in the Applewood    Business Park and build a Dollar General was made public Monday at the Gays Mills Village Board meeting.

A representative of the group was present to answer questions about the design review of the building and a certified survey map. Both had been previously approved by the village’s plan commission. The proposed Dollar General store is to be located on a lot in the Applewood Business Park on Highway 131 and Royal Avenue. 

Following a brief question-and-answer period with the project’s engineer and Craig Anderson, a Gays Mills resident and the former village president, the board approved the design review for the 9,100-square-foot building and the certified survey map creating a one-acre lot for it.

Later in the meeting, the board considered a Golden Warriors’ request for an extension of a ‘due diligence’ clause in the contract from March to May. The clause can be used to cancel the project, if unforeseen circumstances should appear.

While the reason for wanting to extend the clause for two months was not explained by the group, board members speculated that it probably involved some legal hurdle the group had yet to settle. Most of the board felt the project was still on track and would be completed.

In granting the requested extension, the board passed what was listed on the agenda as the ‘First Amendment to Offer to Purchase with Golden Warriors.’

During a brief presentation to the board, Gays Mills Director of Public Works Jim Chellevold strongly suggested the board enact an ordinance requiring property owners to shovel snow from around fire hydrants located on their property. It is currently the responsibility of the village.

Chellevold told the board that in other municipalities shoveling snow away from hydrants is the responsibility of the owner of the property where the hydrants are located.

Gays Mills Village Board President Harry Heisz said the board would investigate creating such an ordinance. Heisz also noted the board had received a letter from a resident complaining that the village had not removed snow from around a hydrant near his residence.

Chellevold said he would drop off a snow shovel at the residence during the next snowstorm.

The board ended the meeting with a shared-use kitchen report presented by Kickapoo Culinary Center Director Jill Riggs.

Riggs took over managing the village’s shared-use kitchen from Brad Niemcek, who resigned last summer from the position he held for about eight years.

Riggs told the board that item #6 on the contract given to her was not something with which she could agree. 

The language described lots of the responsibilities of Riggs to be clean, safe and orderly, but it also stated the operation owned by the village would be held harmless from all claims against it from people working in the kitchen or eating food prepared there.

“I’m responsible for safety and keeping equipment in good working order and cleanliness,” Riggs said. “I am not liable if someone gets hurt.”

Village president Harry Heisz readily agreed with the point raised by Riggs.

“It’s not your liability,” Heisz said. “That’s why we have insurance.”

It was agreed Riggs could rewrite this portion of the contract and submit it to the board for approval in a revised contract.

Riggs and her assistant Darlene Waldsmith-Tagliapietra then engaged in long conversation about the business incubator status of the kitchen.

“We have incubator status (with the state) with my name on it,” Riggs said. 

Darlene reviewed what it takes to be an incubator and assured the board that it could be done.

Does the village want incubator status?

Village president Heisz was unsure if it was necessary.

However, village trustee Kevin Murray noted that the only reason the village received money for the building known as the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center was because of a commitment to economic development, which included the shared-use kitchen.

Riggs said that the incubator program had changed hands and is now under the direction of a re-organized UW Extension.

Murray sought to confirm that the village’s shared-use kitchen was still registered with the state as an incubator and re-packager. 

“Yes, we belong to a group of some kind,” Riggs replied.

Riggs said the kitchen was looking into offering a food safety class for the many clients the kitchen appears to be getting. The class and a proctored test would cost $850.

However, Riggs indicated that Darlene was qualified to teach such a class and said if the kitchen offered the class, they could make money on it versus paying an outside group to put it on.

In answer to another question, Riggs said anyone was eligible to rent and use the kitchen and did not have to be participating in the incubator program.

Riggs also approached the board with a request for joining the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. Both the kitchen and Riggs’ Mt. Zion Pub would become members. Therestaurant business would get advertising with the restaurant association. Village trustee Kevin  Murray moved to join the restaurant association and Larry McCarn seconded it. The board approved the motion.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• tabled action on the Old Mill Museum Roof Repairs until a better understanding of the Friends of Gays Mills expectations for fund raising are understood

• tabled action on Amendments to North Mills Subdivision and First Addition to North Mills Subdivision Deed Restrictions and Protective Covenants until village-contracted attorney Eileen Brownlee could review a corrected copy of the documents

• approved giving an annual $3,500 donation to the Ocooch Mountain Rescue as had been budgeted

• approved a Temporary Class B Liquor License for the McCormick Rose American Legion for July 2 and 3 at the Kickapoo Stump Dodger Campground

• approved the operator’s license  application of Lynn Frederick

• agreed to pursue getting a definitive answer from the 2020 swimming pool manager Kayla Fortney on her intentions to serve or not serve as the 2021 swimming pool manager