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February Richland Center City Council Meeting

Officials of the City of Richland Center and local law enforcement are working together to try and determine who is responsible for what Mayor Paul Corcoran called “malicious vandalism” at the Richland Airport at Sextonville.

A person or persons broke into the terminal building at the airport and broke a water main which led to the destruction of the boiler and water heater along with damage to the facility. The water flowed continually for two to three days before the vandalism was discovered Monday by city personnel. Mayor Corcoran told the Richland Center City Council and members of the public last evening (Tues) at the City Council meeting, that the city has experienced an unprecedented amount of vandalism. Clerk Treasurer Melinda Jones said that there have been four insurance claims in the first six weeks of the year. No dollar figure for the damage has yet been determined.

Richland Center Police Chief Lucas Clements presented the 2015 Annual Report for the Richland Center Police Department. Clements said he was very proud of the work done by the department as a whole for the service provided. Chief Clements said one notable statistic was the number of criminal arrests both felony and misdemeanor. There were 412 arrests last year, 49% more than the 276 arrests in 2014. Clements said that one significant aspect of the criminal arrest statistic and that is the department is responding to a call or an event that requires investigation, interviews, etc to process. The RCPD received 4416 calls for service in 2015 which was up 21%. The police department investigated 139 traffic crashes in 2015, five more than 2014. The 139 crashes were much less than the ten year high of 191 in 2008. Chief Clements said he believed the council’s work to add stop signs to uncontrolled intersections over the years has been positive for the city’s traffic safety. Members of the department are given service strips every four years. This past year, Annette Clark was honored for 16 years of service and Clements himself was recognized for 12 years. Three new officers were added meaning the department is at full strength for the first time in three years. Chief Clements said that training remains a high priority for the Richland Center Police Department. Mayor Corcoran commended Chief Clements for his and his fellow officers commitment to serve the community.

The Council was given initial information on the desire of Dairyland Transport to purchase land in the North Industrial Park to create cold storage facilities. Joe Hall of Dairyland Transport explained that his current trucking business and grain drying business would remain as it is near Boaz with only the office moving to the new facilities. Doug Sutter of Keller Planners, Architects and Builders who accompanied Joe Hall at the council meeting, said that the first phase cold storage building would cover anywhere from 36,000 to 46,000 square feet. Hall said that he believes up to 12 employees could potentially be added. The business would potentially serve the local dairy industry and other clients. Depending on growth and demand, three additional phases could each add another 46,000 square feet. The council took no action. Doug Sutter said that if all would go well, it would be possible to break ground this spring and have phase one usable by Thanksgiving.

The Council approved a conditional use permit for RC Cycles owned by Rick Gander to be located and operate at 220 North Church Street. RC Cycles is a motorcycle repair business.

The Council also passed an ordinance which will prohibit possession of glass containers on navigable waters within the city of Richland Center. The new ordinance will address concerns with the increased popularity of recreation on the Pine River.

Like the Richland County Board did earlier in the day, the City Council approved boiler bids bids for the Symons Natatorium. The City and County will share the expense of the upgrades to the current boilers that are 28 years old.

It was reported that Brewer Public Library Director Angela Noelle has resigned to take a position in Brodhead which is closer to where she lives. The Mayor and Council acknowledged Noelle’s good work. The Library Board has named Emily Zorea the interim director to assist at the current time. Zorea has been serving as the Children’s Librarian.