City council accepts property bid

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By Shelia Tomkins

At the monthly meeting on Oct. 11, the Guttenberg city council accepted a bid on the Bender property, acted on the resignation of Community Vitality Director Emily Yaddof, and moved forward on other property requests.

Mayor Bill Frommelt led council members Austin Greve, Fred Schaub, Virginia Saeugling, Jane Parker and Mick Pierce through the evening's agenda. City manager Denise Schneider was also present. 

Bender property sale

Following up on action taken at last month's council meeting, the council considered bids for the property at the corner of Highway 52 and Schiller Street, known as the Bender property. Only one bid was received, submitted by Nathan Trappe who offered $54,000 for the property.  

Prior to consideration of the bid, the mayor read a statement asking the council to reconsider its decision to sell the property, and said he believed it would best serve the economic interests of the business community if the property was used for a Welcome Center and EV charging station. 

Trappe gave the council drawings of his proposed commercial building, and discussed his plans, saying it would feature a German-style design. He said he was willing to have tourist brochures displayed there, and said rental space would be available in the building. 

Council member Pierce said he wasn't willing to sell it with only one bid and that the best place for a welcome center is on the highway. Schaub commented the property needs to get back on the tax roll, and Saeugling said the property needs to be cleaned up. After further discussion, the council voted 4-1 to move forward on the bid, with Pierce in the minority. 

Community Vitality resignation

The mayor announced that Community Vitality Director Emily Yaddof has submitted her resignation. Members of the Community Vitality steering committee were in attendance and said they are committed to keeping the position. "We think Emily has done a great job, and we have a plan to keep going," said a spokesperson. The council expressed support for the work Yaddof has done, and decided to advertise for a replacement, allowing 30 days for applications. Interviews will be done by the committee, mayor, city manager and a council member. 

Historical Preservation

Lee Johnston of the Guttenberg Historic Preservation Commission followed up on her conversation last month with the council and presented information on creating a demolition permit based on regulations that she researched, noting that she liked the guidelines used by the City of Mount Vernon. She described the steps to determine if a building is historically significant and said the proposed permit includes the chance for public input. She also gave the council an inventory of historic properties.

New businesses

A zoning change request from Klaes Enterprise LLC was approved as recommended by the city planning and zoning board. The ordinance changes the zoning on a lot north of the site of a proposed brewery in the 500 block of South First Street from mixed residents to commercial. The council also decided to move forward with a request from Klaes Enterprise, as recommended by the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Committee (GEIDC), for $150,000 from the city's revolving loan fund. 

The council approved a $1,000 request from the Guttenberg Business Accelerator Fund by Brandie Tomkins for the Riverfront Boutique, located in the Webster building in the downtown area. 

Project updates

A written report on city projects was received from  Steve Thompson, an engineer with Veenstra and Kimm, Inc. He reported that the light poles for the Schiller Street project are scheduled to be shipped on Nov. 11. The Limbeck dredging project is awaiting word from the DNR about using grant money to purchase a dredge. The survey for Phase I of the water system improvement is complete and the design has begun, and Phase II survey is nearing completion. Plans and permit applications for the Fifth Street sewer extension project will be sent to the DNR for consideration.  

Property sales

There were no comments at a public hearing regarding a request by Bob and Megan Liebe to purchase city property as discussed at last month's meeting. The council vacated the property and approved the sale.

Following up on last month's meeting, the council passed an ordinance to vacate city property and okayed a resolution to sell it to Mark and Janet Kohlmeyer. 

The council passed a resolution to move forward on a property purchase offer from Richard and Phoebe Johnson for the former Palmer property on South Second Street.

The council decided to move forward with a request from Lenora Theurnauf and Kyle Selberg to purchase three parcels of city property adjacent to Lakeside Ballroom. 

Other business

The city manager was given permission to order a courtesy dock at a cost of $43,905. It will be installed north of the Lock and Dam.

The council concurred with a city recreation board  proposal that next season concession stand sales be offered to local non-profits

Stan Blair and Karen Kulper received an adjustment on the sewer portion of their utility bill following a basement water leak. 

Shaun Nelson and his legal representative spoke to the council about a dispute over a water line repair bill. The council voted to deny his request for the city to pay the repair bill and to certify the amount due to the county treasurer for collection. 

Chris Hopp of Alpine Communications thanked the city for making possible recent certification by the National Broadband Association and presented Smart Rural Community signs to the council. 

The city will participate in a low-income water assistance program, similar to the low-income heat assistance program. 

Upon the recommendation of Police Chief Derek Chambers the council okayed a plan to limit parking in front of the school when buses are using the area. 

The city manager gave an update on clean-up of nuisance properties. The council decided to give an extension to Rausch’s until the end of the year. 

Tim Schmitt spoke to the council regarding property owned by his father, who lives out of state. He requested the right to re-build buildings of the same size and on the same location after demolition.

A Hadyn Street temporary closure was approved in order to install a mural crosswalk. 

Austin Winch was approved as a member of the fire department. 

The council accepted a bid of $1,175 for an old fire truck.

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