New London council OKs more roadwork
By Scott Bellile
Two city of New London buildings will receive electronic messaging centers (EMCs), as approved by New London City Council at its September meeting.
The city hall along with the shared facility for New London Public Library and New London Public Museum will each receive a $29,900 EMC. EMCs display temperature, time, upcoming events and other messages to passerby.
A third building, the new city garage that wraps up construction this fall, will get a $9,200 sign without electronic capabilities.
Creative Sign Company of De Pere will build and install the three signs for $72,600.
On the design the council approved, the wording “City of New London” matches with the font used in the logo on the city’s website. The sign also features the city’s ship wheel emblem.
On a second design option that was $1,200 cheaper per sign, the words “City of New London” are modeled after the blocky font on the New London Police Department’s current sign.
At a Sept. 6 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting where the two designs were unveiled, committee member and First District Alderman Robert Besaw favored the $72,600 option. He said it better reflects New London’s image. Committee members agreed.
“The writing seems to be a little more friendly than the block style over here does,” he said, gesturing toward the cheaper option, which he added “looks like it’s all business.”
Committee member Henrica Bult said the design the committee preferred looks “more welcoming.”
Mayor Gary Henke said he was satisfied with the price the city got for design and installation. The highest of five bids was about $95,400.
Parks and Recreation Director Chad Hoerth stated in a memo to the parks committee the city must cut down the evergreen tree next to the current sign outside city hall to make way for the new EMC.
Additional items that were passed by the city council at its Sept. 13 meeting, all unanimously:
• An $84,388 bid from De Groot, Inc. of Green Bay to perform sanitary and storm sewer extensions on East Beacon Avenue this fall. The sewer extension will accommodate The Commonwealth Companies’ affordable housing development that breaks ground next year. (Another company will reconstruct and widen Beacon Avenue between Mill Street and the railroad tracks starting in April.)
• A $2,500 proposal from Mid-State Asphalt to patch portions of North Water Street in the east 200 block. Mill Street will also receive two patches.
• A 2.5 percent raise for law enforcement in 2017 and at least a 2 percent raise in 2018. This is consistent with raises approved for other city employees back in August. In exchange for raises, annual health insurance opt-out payments will be reduced by $500 or $1,000 for all city employees including police. The new employee dental insurance policy that’s covered 50 percent by the city will also be open to police.
• A change to New London Youth Baseball Association’s annual $10,000 loan payment for the $57,000 shelter NLYB built in Pfeifer Park a couple years ago. NLYB will now pay the city $500 a month through 2016 and $1,000 a month until it’s paid off in late 2018.
• An ordinance to establish yield signs at the intersection of Lyons and Waupaca streets, as per citizen request.
• Replacing an HVAC rooftop unit at city hall and an air conditioner condensing unit at New London Police Department for $24,600. Central Temperature Equipment Service of Neenah will do both.
• Submitting an offer to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to purchase about 2 acres of land at the State Highway 54 and River Road intersection for $5,000. The DOT originally appraised the property at over $27,000 so Hoerth talked it down. Local wildlife group Shadows on the Wolf had expressed interest in building a boat launch along the Embarrass River. Hoerth later reported in a Sept. 21 memo the group wants a shoreline fishing area there instead.
• New London Parks and Recreation’s 2017 fee schedule. Among the changes effective Jan. 1, park shelter rentals will go up $1 a day. Camp Hatten enrollment will go up $2 a day and $5 a week. Team fees for adult softball, volleyball and basketball will go up $10. Community garden plots will decrease $5.
• Rezoning part of Darwin Handschke’s land west of Partridge Drive Estates from agricultural to multi-family. The city is in talks with Partridge Drive Estates to build more apartment units. City Administrator Kent Hager later reported in a Sept. 21 memo the project is on hold because engineers discovered a sewer line issue could arise at the site. It could cost $250,000 to remedy.