Council approves resolutions

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By Steve Van Kooten


On May 7, the Prairie du Chien Common Council’s agenda had a plethora of resolutions to consider, ranging from the community block development grant (CBDG) for the Illinois Street project to holiday declarations and improvements to city property.

Before the regular council meeting, the city held the first public hearing for the Illinois Street project. A representative from Vierbicher, an engineering firm frequently utilized by the city, reviewed terms and information about the CBDG grant process and civilian participation requirements.

In attendance were alderpersons Nick Crary, Vicki Waller, Andy Ringgold, Bob Granzow, Kayla Ingham, Kelssi Ziegler, Pam Kiesau and Jaaren Riebe. Also in attendance were Mayor David Hemmer, City Administrator Chad Abram, City Attorney Amanda Tisdale and Police Chief Kyle Teynor.


CBDG grant

At the April 16 meeting, the council approved a professional services agreement and citizen participation plan for the Illinois Street project, which will implement utility improvements to a portion of Illinois Street between Webster and Washington streets.

Improvement work includes the replacement of streets, sidewalks, sanitary sewers and water mains, among other infrastructure.

Three weeks later, three resolutions regarding the road project were on the agenda.

The first resolution gave the city administrator authority to prepare and submit the CBDG grant application. If accepted, the application will give the city access to federal funding.

For the second resolution, the city needed to  adopt a policy prohibiting the use of “excessive force by local law enforcement agencies within its jurisdiction against any individuals engaged in non-violent civil rights demonstrations.”

According to the Police Brutality Center, excessive force is defined as “beyond what a reasonable police office would use to question or apprehend a person.” Abram later said excessive force by law enforcement would include the use of fire hoses, tear gas, batons and dogs, among other methods of crowd control.

The policy also required the city to enforce state and local laws against barring access to a location that is the subject of a non-violent civil rights demonstration.

“This is part of the CBDG process to apply for the grant,” Abram said. “It shows that we have a policy at the city.”

According to the resolution, Section 104 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (HCDA) prevents the state from awarding CBDG grants to local governments that do not have or adopt a policy that covers both of those standards.

The policy states that the city will prohibit the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies and apply state and local laws as outlined by the HCDA. The city will direct the Prairie du Chien Police Chief to amend police department procedures to comply with the enforcement procedures outlined in the HCDA.

For the third resolution, Abram said, “This resolution proves that we have an approval letter from our financial advisors at People’s State Bank and that we have the funds to match for this grant.”

According to the resolution and supporting documents, the city obtained matching funds totaling $587,933 through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’s Safe Water Drinking Program. The WDNR program is a grants low-interest loans.

The council unanimously approved the three resolutions.


Pool and stage

Mike Wallace, the parks and recreation director for the city, submitted an approval request for the installation of six starting blocks for the Wacouta Pool.

A memo from Wallace’s office said the total cost for the project was estimated to be $25,767 for purchase, transportation and installation.

The memo also said the swim team raised $27,000 through two donations from the George Family Foundation ($22,000) and Tom and Lisa Peterson ($5,000) to cover the costs of the project.

“The swim team purchased them. Does this just mean we want to install them?” Ziegler asked.

“We had two private donations, then I purchased them,” said Wallace. “We want to install them.”

“Why did this come to the council?” asked Ziegler.

“Cost,” Abram said. “It’s good to inform the council.”

The council approved the starting blocks’ installation.

The Rotary Club of Prairie du Chien submitted design plans to the council for an outdoor stage on St. Feriole Island. The Rotary Club provided full funding for the project.

Abram said, “The Rotary Club wanted to get approval of the location that was discussed over a year ago.” He added that the stage’s location would be near the Fireman’s Association Shelter and the corner of Villa Louis and Fisher roads.

He noted there was a small parcel of privately owned land between the Fireman’s Association Shelter and the intended location for the stage; however, he said the land’s owner had been amicable working with the Rotary Club.

“I just wanted to point out that the Rotary Club has done a really fantastic job crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s in this process,” said Ziegler.

Abram recommended the council approve the design and location pending an easement for the private land the stage would partially occupy, which the council adopted.


Other business

• Abram said the Public Safety Center project had a completed blueprint for the building’s internal design. Personnel from the police department, fire department and city staff had approved the designs.

• One of the city’s four wells had to be shut down because it had high levels of PFAS in the water system. PFAS, which are plastics and other chemicals that do not deteriorate in the environment, were at 15 parts per trillion, more than triple the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum limit of four. Abram said the city still uses wells one, three, and four, each tested under four parts per trillion.

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