Meeting Watch RTSA

NEW RICHMOND - New Richmond City Council members took their time Monday night approving Oevering Homes’ Preliminary Plat Application for a new residential development called Avondale.

Located on 28.9 acres on the southwest corner of County Road GG and 140th Street (the old Powers Property), Avondale consists of 68 single family lots and 86 twin home lots.

Animosity between residents and representatives from Oevering led to a contentious public hearing March 1 that ultimately resulted in members of the Plan Commission failing to recommend the application by a 3-3 vote. 

  • Council members approved a memorandum of understanding that would allow the New Richmond School District to use the existing library facility located at Glover Park for education related activities once the new library has been completed. The school district is expected to approve the agreement at its March 15 work session.

  • Council members approved a rental fee of $250 per event to rent a banner that will be displayed across Knowles just north of the Willow River. The banner will be suspended between two fiberglass poles on either side of Knowles Ave. The intended use of the poles is two-fold: to add garland and lights for decorating at Christmas time and to allow local organizations to display banners to advertise upcoming events for example, Park Art Fair, Fat Bike Race, Scary Park, Fun Fest. Banners will be displayed for up to three weeks. Applications will be available at the Civic Center and must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the display date.

“I live in a development where you guys built 75% of the single family homes. You’d be hard pressed to find anybody that's happy. You can cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s you want as far as getting this thing going, but if you don’t finish what you’re building you’re going to have a lot of pissed off people. I think that’s already been brought up. As far as I’m concerned, you're not a very good builder. You have to do things better,” Alderman Tom Weinmeyer said.  

Much of the discussion Monday night centered around the council's efforts to secure a pledge from builder Suzi Oevering and Realtor Paul Hoppe to comply with the 16 conditions attached to the application, to conduct their relationship with city staff professionally and to respect the concerns expressed by residents. 

“The city wants a great working relationship with developers and builders. What we saw, what the Planning Commission saw at the Planning Commision meeting, that type of attitude, that type of pushback, when we’re hearing from staff that’s what they’re receiving, I think what you're sensing is, the council wants that to end. There will start to be issues if that behavior continues. So we’re asking politely that there’s more compliance, there’s a better working relationship. We don’t want the council to go down a different path,” Mayor Fred Horne said.

Council members approved the Avondale plat application by a vote of 4 to 1. 

$45K in tourism grants

The Tourism Committee allocates funds on a quarterly basis to reimburse local businesses and organizations both public and private for a variety of expenditures qualified as promoting the city. Seventy percent of room tax revenues are dedicated to reimbursements each quarter.  By moving to quarterly allocations, the committee is able to accept applications throughout the year, reimburse expenses in a more timely fashion and tailor disbursements more closely to revenues.

Qualified expenses include:

  • Marketing outside St. Croix County. 

  • Newspaper advertising (printed). 

  • Television/radio/ social media advertising. 

  • Billboards. 

  • Literature and other printed materials distributed at outside-related events. 

  • Direct mail pieces. 

  • Trade show booth space and materials. 

  • Advertising and promotion materials distributed within St. Croix County. 

  • Signage and banners at an event site. 

  • Facility enhancements. 

  • Porta Potties at an event.

  • Featured entertainment. 

  • Tents/temporary structures. 

  • Parade entries. 

  • Expenses involved in obtaining live, remote television/radio broadcasts. 

Including a carry forward of $25,147.98 from the third quarter of 2021, the committee had $49,428.57 to spend on reimbursement for the fourth quarter. Monday night the council approved the committee’s recommendation to fund four applications totaling $45,872.46 for qualified expenses incurred during the fourth quarter of 2021.

  • $7,145.39 New Richmond Chamber of Commerce for expenses associated with the Hometown Holiday event

  • $14,400 BRFapex Cycle for expenses related to hosting the 2021 Fat Bike World Championship

  • $19,327.07 city of New Richmond for park expenses for the 2021 athletic season at Hatfield Park, Citizens Field and the Sports Center.

  • $5,000 City of New Richmond for purchase and installation of two new street banner poles.

Tom Lindfors is a western Wisconsin freelance journalist and former Star-Observer reporter. Contact him at tom@lindforsphoto.com

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