Sunday, July 14, 2013

What you may not know: Week of July 15

It's a busy committee week for the Appleton Common Council, and here are some highlights:

Community and Economic Development, Monday, 5 pm

The CEDC Committee does not have any action items on their agenda this week, but they still have a hot topic to discuss. If you've been reading the Post Crescent you may already know about proposed plans to build an 180-unit apartment complex on the former Foremost Dairy site, which is along the Fox River south and west of the College Avenue Bridge.

A developer's proposal calls for a $15-25 million project that could start work yet this year if approved, but neighbors of the proposed facility are not pleased with the plans. The council recently received a petition signed by nearly all property owners in the surrounding neighborhood calling for this concept to be rejected, citing concerns about traffic and parking. Trying to fit hundreds more people into a relatively quiet pocket of the city would certainly cause some headaches.

While an apartment complex of this magnitude may not be the right fit for this location, the city does need to do something to get this space back on the tax rolls. We've already spent over a million dollars to rehabilitate and remediate the site, so finding a resolution that allows the city to recoup those costs is a top priority. Some of the petition signers and critics of the project want the space preserved as green space, but that's unlikely to be a feasible option.

A traffic impact study and the aforementioned petition are on the CEDC agenda for this week, and are likely to spark a fair amount of discussion.

Municipal Services, Tuesday, 5:30 pm

An item of interest to residents of District 13 will appear before the Municipal Services Committee on Tuesday night. As part of this summer's reconstruction of Ballard Road, there is a proposal to remove some parking for a short distance on neighboring streets. Assuming the proposal passes, parking will be eliminated:

  • On the south side of Glendale Avenue for the first 390 feet east of Ballard, 
  • On both sides of Glendale for the first 215 feet west of Ballard, and
  • On both sides of Pershing Street for the first 215 feet west of Ballard.
This isn't a major change, but by my count it will eliminate on-street parking in front of roughly five residences on Glendale and an apartment building facing Pershing. I hope we'll have a conversation about why that's necessary before we inconvenience those residents in this way.

Parks and Recreation, Wednesday, 6 pm

The lone action item on the Parks and Rec agenda this week is a resolution proposed by two members of the committee at last week's council meeting. It calls for recycling bins to be installed in all city parks near garbage receptacles, in an effort to encourage more recycling in the space.

This plan will come with some cost and will require plans to be made for recycling pickup, but I think it's a no-brainer. The city has done so much to encourage our residents to recycle and had great success in doing so, but parks are one place where recyclable items are going into the trash because of a lack of alternatives. We have the means to fix that and I hope we'll do so.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

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