Monday, March 16, 2015

What you may not know: Week of March 16

The Appleton Common Council will meet on Wednesday at 7 pm in our regularly scheduled session, and our agenda includes some items we've discussed before:

Industrial Park land sale

Last Monday the Community and Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of a request to sell two lots in the Northeast Industrial Park for $35,000 per acre, which is $5,000 per acre below our asking price for these properties. Council just approved the new asking price a few months ago, but we're now being asked to accept less in response to a need for on-site stormwater management in this area.

I remain concerned regarding any decision to sell below our asking price due to a precedent set by doing so. If we're going to do this, we should probably lower the asking price across the board in acknowledgement of the fact that we're willing to accept less.

Midway Road safety improvements

Last Tuesday the Municipal Services Committee voted 5-0 to recommend approval of four changes to the ordinance enforcement and infrastructure along Midway Road, as laid out in last week's update. Assuming those changes also pass council on Wednesday, the improvements will likely appear in the 2016 budget.

College Avenue sign request

At that same meeting the committee decided to hold a request to approve a street occupancy permit for a new sign outside Bazil's Pub which would have extended over eight feet into the right-of-way. It's my understanding that this request will be withdrawn and a new proposal will be brought forward.

Wednesday's meeting also includes a closed session to discuss real estate negotiations regarding the proposed future site of the Appleton Public Library. I can't discuss what has happened or will happen in closed sessions, but here's a quick update on where we are in that process:

  • The Library Board and the Council approved a budget calling for the city to proceed towards building a new library on the "bluff" site. The money budgeted for 2015 calls for the purchase and clearing of the properties and some architectural work.
  • As part of negotiations to purchase the properties, the city paid for appraisals of both entities. Both the church and the banquet hall also had the right to request their own appraisals at city expense. That window has since closed.
  • If we purchase the properties, the city is required to assist in relocating the existing owners. We had to submit a relocation plan for state approval, and as of last Wednesday we hadn't heard back on that.
If you have further questions about the library process or would like to learn more about other potentially upcoming downtown projects like the YMCA renovation or exhibition center, the League of Women Voters is hosting a forum you may want to attend on Monday, March 23.

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

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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