Elizabeth Kaiser graphic
On Tuesday, April 13, the Platteville Common Council met for their biweekly meeting via Zoom. The session saw two contracts awarded for street maintenance and Trine Pickleball Complex and Tennis Court refurbishment among other motions.
Museum Director Erik Flesch announced that museums are reopening for the tour season on May 1, which also happens to be “community free day” for the local museums. On May 1, any Platteville residents can attend the museums for free provided they provide a proof of residency. This is in celebration of three anniversaries: the 50 anniversary of the completion of the Mining Museum, the 45 anniversary of the opening of the Bevans Mine, and the 40 anniversary of the opening of the Rollo Jamison Museum.
Contract 7-21, Street Maintenance, was awarded to Iverson Construction to use a “thin overlay” method to delay decay of N. Western Ave., the northernmost part N. Washington St., the dead-end of W. Adams St., Lutheran St. and Cora St. by 7-10 years. The contract also includes the use of a “mill and overlay” method on W. Main St. (by the Center for the Arts) to delay decay for up to 15 years. The cost for this maintenance is approximately $113,000-$115,000, which was less than the initial bid and budget of $131,320.37. The cost reduction came from the council’s decision to modify the proposed contract to include all of Lutheran St. and exclude S. Hickory St. and W. Gridley Ave., near Valley View Park. This decision arose in response to several council members believing that these streets require more long-term work due to their current states, rather than simple maintenance.
Contract 12-21 for a new pickleball complex and tennis court refurbishment was awarded to Owen’s Excavating from Hazel Green, WI. The project will add a structure for several pickleball courts and improve the existing tennis courts, both located in Legion Park. It has a budget of $348,360. Council President Barbara Daus praised the Platteville Area Pickleball Association (PAPA) for its efforts in fundraising for this project, which will provide a significant portion of the budget. The PAPA raised over $299,000 as of the end of March 2020 for the project’s $348,360 budget.
The Platteville Municipal Airport presented an update on its Capital Improvement Project. The airport is currently looking to construct additional hangars – a 70 ft. by 70 ft. box hangar and a 4-unit T-hangar. The rough estimate for the project’s budget is $1-1.5 million, and the funding sources for such an undertaking are in the process of being verified. The Platteville Airport Commission has determined that they will have enough funding to avoid impacting the city’s General Obligation Borrowing limits through the use of a revenue anticipation note. City Staff intends to recommend approving the project if the funding can be verified. Several council members praised the Airport Commission’s communication with the council.
The council is reviewing requests to carry over unused funding from 2020 and will vote on the item in their next meeting. The funding is divided between a CIP Fund and a General Fund, both of which include money for various departments which was not spent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A draft of a new flag raising policy was presented to the council, which will see several discussions before being voted on when the council feels ready. The policy would bring greater formality to requests for the city to fly certain flags on the city hall flagpole, including an application which the City Clerk would use to determine whether a flag may be flown. There is currently no policy for the city in regard to flag-raising, though there have been resolutions passed within the common council to fly the LGBTQ+ flag during June 2020 and the UN flag during Oct. 2020. The council leaned toward a more simplified policy which would only allow the national and state flags to be flown on city flagpoles, however, they intend to pass the current policy draft through the Taskforce for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (TIDE) first regardless.
The City of Platteville is considering the adoption of a new mission statement to increase the visibility and importance of its history. The current statement was implemented in 2013, so the council is looking into a more current reflection of the city’s values. Several council members felt the proposed statement included in the meeting packet was too long, and they are now revising it for brevity while still maintaining the message. The statement will likely be passed through TIDE and the city’s various committees and commissions before being decided on.
The Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity Update covered the TIDE meeting from Mar. 26, where the task force met with Dr. Jonathan Brown to review the City Statement and policies. The task force is planning to work with Jamie Collins from the Southwest Wisconsin Rainbow Alliance soon to practice scenarios and bias training, as well as revise policies to be more inclusive. Additionally, the TIDE intends to come up with a city event to promote inclusivity, diversity and equity for some time in 2022.
Finally, the COVID-19 Update addressed the state of the pandemic and vaccinations in Platteville. The report indicated that roughly 30% of Grant County residents have been vaccinated, and addressed the city’s ruling on masks in the wake of the state-wide mask mandate being struck down. The city plans to continue requiring masks in public buildings until the state of emergency, declared in the city’s resolution 20-31 on December 15, 2020, comes to an end on June 30, 2021. At that time, the city plans to reassess the situation and move forward based on recommendations from health professionals. In the meantime, vaccination clinics are being held on Thursdays at the Broske Center in Legion Park. The clinics require registration, unless extra vaccines are available, in which case the city will notify residents that walk-ins are being accepted.