DARLINGTON –Darlington City Council meeting room was completely full of interested parties for the first time in recent memory on Tuesday, March 6. The driving interest was an ATV/UTV ordinance that was on the agenda.
The ordinance is to change routes in the city, to allow ATV/UTV’s to travel anywhere, except on Hwy. 23 S, from Old Center Hill – south, and to move the speed limit up to 35 m.p.h. The item was discussed at the Ordinance Committee earlier in the evening (see below). Not one word of discussion was had at the city council portion of the meeting. A motion was made by Alder John Sonsolla and seconded by Alder Cindy Corley to adopt the ordinance. Approved 5-1, with Alder Dave Gough voting nay.
The bird statue discussion circled around and around. The two items being discussed were – who was responsible for approving the bird placements in city parks and who would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep once they’re installed in city parks.
Sue Cashman, representing the Darlington Chamber, stated two of the birds, an eagle to be placed near the Veterans Memorial Monument and a blue heron to be placed near the river walk, just south of Piggly Wiggly’s parking lot, would be arriving Monday.
The maintenance question seemed to be answered, in that the Chamber will be donating the birds that will reside in city parks to the city. This item is still being resolved.
A motion to allow the eagle statue to be placed in Veteran’s Park to the north of the Veteran’s Memorial was approved.
Going forward, permission for placement of birds in parks would be left up to the Park and Rec Committee. Again, no motion or approval was made to that affect.
Lions’ Shelter House
Alder Steve Pickett, representing the Darlington Lions, stated the Lions are proposing to locate a 60’x80’ shelter house, a Lions’ water fountain and new Festival Grounds sign in the Festival Grounds. Pickett has been talking to the DNR and was told he needed to have a hydraulic and hydrologic analysis done, because the proposed site is in the flood plain.
The study will cost $2,000 - $2,500 and the Lions would like the city to pay for the study. Pickett said, “I would like to see the city pay for the study, because the shelter house will be donated to the city and will have cost the Lions in the neighborhood of $40,000. The shelter will be used for many events held at the Festival Grounds.”
Gough asked, “You have permission to build this from the DNR?” Pickett answered, “The DNR said if we have a hydrologic study done and it’s approved, they will approve it.” Phil Risseeuw, Clerk-Treasurer, said, “When it was studied before, by the Main Street program, they said the only place it could go was in the graveled parking lot directly behind Casey’s.”
Gough said, “I certainly appreciate the Lions Club offering to do this, but I have a problem with the city spending $2,500 on a analysis to determine whether or not you can build it there. I think we’re opening a can of worms.”
Pickett stated he would find the Main Street study and see what it shows and go from there. No Action.
In what seemed to be a cut and dried ordinance committee meeting, Bill McDaniel, city attorney, presented the repealed and recreated section 7.14 of the City of Darlington’s Code of Ordinances. John Sonsolla, alder and ordinance committee chair, read the items that would be changed to the ordinance.
The changes include: Routes - •The Cheese Country Trail through the City. •Highway 23 from Old Center Hill Road north to Minerva Street which includes the Pecatonica River Bridge. •Highway 81 from Main Street east to the easterly entrance to the Lafayette County Fairgrounds. •All City of Darlington streets and alleys.
Operating requirements - •In the driving lane in single file with the flow of traffic. •In compliance with all of the provisions of statutes, rules, regulations, and ordinances applicable to such ATV or UTV operation. •No person shall operate an ATV, UTV or modified golf cart in the City between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. •At speeds not to exceed the posted speed limit but in no event greater than thirty-five (35) miles per hour (old speed limit was 10 m.p.h.).
Fuzzy North, Lafayette County ATV Club president, asked “Wasn’t there one more thing we requested – the ability to drive on the streets year-round?” Sonsolla answered, “The provision that set limits on time-of-year was removed from the new ordinance.” McDaniel explained, “The old ordinance stated that ATV/UTV’s could only be operated on city streets when the Cheese County Trail was open. That part has been eliminated.”
Some discussion was had regarding signage. A motion was made and approved to adopt the ordinance. This needs to be approved at full council. (see above)
Plan Commission Committee
Jake Joyal of KL Engineering in Madison was the first presenter. KL is the company that Vierbicher Associates has hired to do the lighting portion of the 2021 Main Street reconstruction project. Joyal explained the lighting parts the firm was working on and gave the city some options.
The first question Joyal had was if the city wanted the streetlights on the bridge to be staggered or directly across from each other. Two lights total will be on the bridge and the committee opted for the directly across option, creating a welcoming vibe to the downtown. The streets lights on the outside of Main Street will be across from each other also, instead of being staggered. It was approved by the committee.
There were three options for what to do with the current globe lights in the median of Main Street. The options were to refurbish the current globe lights and put an adapter for LED lights in them, refurbishing the current globe lights and retrofitting them with a LED kit, or scrap the current globe lights and buy new globe lights.
After much discussion and a recommendation from KL Engineering to go with new, the committee decided to go with new globe lights for the median. The ‘new’ option will cost approximately $30,000 more, but will have up-to-date wiring and will be under warranty.
Gary Blazel of Vierbicher Associates talked about the railing on the bridge and stated it could look like the railing the DOT built on the Louisa Street wall. Blazel asked, “The DOT wants to know if you want any kind of the decorative form liner to make this a dressier bridge, otherwise it’s going to be the standard concrete.” The cost to dress up the bridge would be approximately $20,000 extra. Kerry Black, committee member, asked, “That cost would be on us, instead of the DOT?” Blazel answered, “Yes.” No action was taken. Streetscape of three blocks downtown were also discussed.
In Other City Council Business:
•Approved Street Lights to be straight across on bridge and in downtown and replacing the median globe lights with the new globe lights.
•Approved SW Wisconsin Regional Housing study not to exceed $800.
•Approved a John Deere Gator work series at $8,500 from Sloan Equipment of Cuba City, will be paid out of the outlay account.
•Approved the Bunny Hop date of March 31 and proceeds recipient of Carson Hartwig.
•Approved the Feb. vouchers for $994,545.
•Corley was forced into giving a report regarding Rural Medical.