By DAVID KRIER
The Boscobel Common Council heard an update on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway from Executive Director Mark Cupp when it met Monday night, the first in a series of guest speakers invited by Mayor Steve Wetter.
“I just want to take advantage of the 25-year anniversary of the Riverway project to update communities on what’s been going on and what will be happening in the future,” Cupp said.
Cupp said this is an important year for Boscobel and other Riverway communities as the DNR is updating its Master Plan and is looking for input.
“So we’re looking for some direction for the DNR,” he said.
Cupp said one thing he would like to see from the DNR is a solution to the “continued conflicts” between canoeists and fishermen at the Boscobel boat landing, including the possible development of a canoe landing at the primitive DNR boat landing east of the current Grant County landing. Cupp also mentioned the possibility of expanded recreational opportunities at the DNR’s property at the site of the former Riverside on Highway 60 north of Boscobel.
“That has some opportunities that haven’t been explored yet,” Cupp said of the Riverside property. “I think that is a perfectly legitimate thing to bring up to the DNR. It’s a perfect time to raise those issues.”
The DNR will be holding a public meeting on its Master Plan revisions at the Tuffley Community Center on Wednesday, April 23 from 4-7 p.m.
Cupp noted that a Boscobel group is looking to expand trail opportunities along the Riverway, including one from Wauzeka to Woodman and on to Boscobel. The Wisconsin River Trails Project will meet on Tuesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. at the Boscobel fire station.
Cupp said that when the Riverway project was created in 1989 many people didn’t give it a chance, despite bi-partisan support at the state capitol.
“We’ve got 25 years under our belt,” Cupp said of the Riverway. “When we first started I think people gave us three. So I think we’re going in the right direction.”
Boscobel’s first-ever wine walk, entitled “Boscobel Uncorked,” will be held on Friday, May 2 from 6-9 p.m. Participants will sample wine and hors d’ oeuvres at approximately a dozen downtown Boscobel businesses.
“So far we have 11 locations in the downtown area,” co-organizer Sally Waltz told the Council Monday. “We were looking for 12-14 and we still have a couple possibilities.”
Tickets at $20 each went on sale Tuesday at Community First Bank, with participants enjoying a glass of both red and white wine at each participating business.
“We have locations from Tall Tails all through the downtown to my daughter Renae’s house on Wisconsin Avenue,” Waltz said. “They register at the bank first and then wherever they want to go.”
The Council approved the wine walk with no opposition, providing open intoxicants are not out on the street.
“I certainly don’t have any problem with it,” Mayor Wetter said.
The Council approved a new, two-year contract for the police department. It includes pay increases of 35¢ per hour this year, 25¢ per hour in 2015, and officers to begin paying 10 percent of their health insurance premiums beginning July 1, 2014. The city will also review proposals for an Employee Assistance Program for officers involved in traumatic, work-related situations like shootings or accidents.
“We kind of met each other halfway and I think it worked out really well,” Wetter said of the contract.
The Council also approved the hiring of four, part-time police officers at $15.25 per hour. They include Kimberly Flessert, Sidney Kirschbaum, Tyler Barr and Devon Glick. Except Barr, who works part-time for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, none have professional law enforcement experience.
“I will have to train them, but it’s still advantageous to us,” said Police Chief Todd Stenner. “Right now we’re down to one part-time officer and we have several weeks of vacation I have to cover, as well as upcoming events like the Fourth of July and Muskets and Memories."
Bids on the Superior Street reconstruction project were approved Monday night. Low bidders included:
•Underground: Iowa-Grant Trucking, Livingston, $210,577;
•Earthwork: Reynolds Brothers, Boscobel, $57,349;
•Concrete: Augelli Concrete, Richland Center, $43,875;
•Bituminous: Iverson Construction, Kieler, $57,034.
“It was a very competitive bidding process again,” said Director of Public Works Mike Reynolds. “I think everyone came in under the estimate.”