Elizabeth Kaiser graphic
On tuesday, Feb. 9, the City of Platteville Common Council held its bi-weekly meeting in the chambers of City Hall. After roll call and a confirmation of the previous meeting’s minutes, the Council opened the floor to public comments and concerns from the community.
James, an Electrical Engineering student at UW-Platteville, wanted to petition for greater coverage of the city’s composting program. His proposal was to extend this service out to the many apartment buildings across the city, which are currently not covered by the program. Council members favored the concern, stating that the city manager would take a look into this.
Ken Killian, a senior resident of the city and member of the Council, brought up concerns regarding the ice left over by city plows after the most recent snowstorm. He recently received a call from a friend regarding the problem, stating that it was the third time in the past few weeks that she had to hire someone to remove ice from her sidewalk. Council President Barbara Daus addressed his concerns, stating that city managers would be taking a look into the problem and seeing what could be done to improve the situation.
The Council approved the adoption of an ordinance designating the Broske Center and UW-Platteville’s own Ullsvik Hall as polling locations for the upcoming Wisconsin state primary election. Prior to the 2020 presidential election, the city armory was used as one of two polling locations, representing the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Wards. When use of the armory was revoked late last year, the Council moved to designate the Broske Center as the new polling location for these wards. Ullsvik Hall has continued to represent the Fifth and Sixth Wards of the city. The motion was approved, 6-0.
The Council also approved the consolidation and sale of four lots in the city’s seventh industrial park, for the purpose of establishing a 342,000 square foot Cummins warehouse and distribution center. Members noted considerable excitement regarding the project. Kathy Kopp, member at-large, stated, “I served on the [developer’s] board for many, many years, so I know how that process works and how thorough they are. I have a true appreciation for all the efforts that [the developer] and the city did, and Patrick and Lawrence were absolutely thrilled about your project. We just can’t wait. So, thank you for coming to Platteville.” Needless to say, the motion to consolidate and sell these lots was approved unanimously, 6-0.
The council received an update from the newly designated city Taskforce for Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity. The first TIDE meeting will be held Friday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. Ryan, a representative from TIDE, brought the Council up to speed on their collaboration with the Southwest Rainbow Alliance:
“In regards to the work sessions we had with the Southwest Rainbow Alliance, staff is working with [the Alliance] and waiting for a new Education Committee Chair to be selected by [the Alliance]. Once that’s done, we’re going to be having some more specific conversations with departments such as […] our Police Department, Public Works, and our Parks department, as well as our Building Maintenance department, to look around in regards to areas we could potentially make changes or have some process improvements in regards to certain scenarios that would deal with the LGBTQ community.”
The representative also brought up an ongoing series of meetings on bias reporting that have started recently, meant to inform the public on methods of reporting bias within their organization. The next meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 25 for those who would like to attend.
In his final update, the Council was informed about the upcoming Ebony Weekend Conference on Feb. 26 and 27, an event led by the university’s Black Student Union meant to celebrate black culture and history, including workshops, live entertainment and lectures from prominent members of the local black community. Members of the council were urged to attend.
In an update on COVID-19, city manager Adam Ruechel ran statistics for Grant County by the Council: As of Feb. 9, the county has averaged around 10 cases per day. There has been a total of 4,593 confirmed COVID cases to date. Of these, 4,413 of those affected have recovered. There are currently 662 possible cases, determined via contact tracing data. Between confirmed and probable cases, 84 have died. Adam also mentioned that the Williams Fieldhouse testing site has been closed down, and its testing responsibilities have now been delegated between two locations: Lancaster on Tuesdays, and the Platteville Armory on Thursdays and Fridays.
Though the speaker mentioned that the number of tests administered had gone down, he followed this with some better news: To date, the state has administered over 750,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, 9,200 in Grant County. Though he also stated there will likely be a temporarily lull in availability of the vaccine, he also mentioned this should only last a few weeks as larger populated areas are prioritized.