Richland Center City Council May 16th Meeting

The Richland Center City Council met for regular business on Tuesday evening, May 16th. At the meeting, three separate presentations were conducted.

The first was made by DebiKay Johnson of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation regarding outdoor advertisement signs located within city limits. It was noted that unpermitted signs throughout the city have made for unsafe driving conditions as well as unnecessary clutter. Johnson stated that sign owners are able to legally stake a sign along a street, however, they must obtain a permit from the DOT. She also said that sign owners must adhere to all sign regulations, including the avoidance of placing signs within the right-of-way of intersections, avoiding placement near DOT road signs, and avoiding placement along the shoulders of city streets, specifically between a sidewalk and street curb. If sign owners had a sign removed, they are able to retain it within a 30-day period by visiting a county highway office or shop.

The city council also heard a presentation by Denise Lins of Symons Recreation Complex on how the complex fared in 2016. It was stated that Symons had a total of 101,460 visitors last year, with an average of 143 new visitors per month. Lins added that the recreation complex saw an increase in community support over the past year, with a wide range of children, adults, and seniors becoming increasingly involved with recreational classes offered by Symons. Despite the growing numbers, it was noted that the complex is facing a county and city budget cut for 2017. Lins said that the cut totals around $12,000, or 15%. She added that in order to address this, the complex may look into reducing classes, operating hours, and upgrading outdated building utilities. Lins closed by noting that 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Symons Recreation Complex, and that a celebration is being planned the week of June 8th.

The final presentation focused on the creation of an Economic Development Specialist within the city and county. Mike Breininger of Southwest Partners stated that the organization has found a specialist that will be assigned to Richland County as early as June of this year. The Economic Development Specialist would be responsible for working with local agencies to bring businesses to the greater Richland area as well as expand current ones, continue and create social attractions, and coincide with Southwest Partners in the development of a community foundation. The position will initially be 20%, but the hope is to have it increase to a full-time position within the next two years. Breininger stated that Southwest Partners has committed $4,000 to this position, with support from the city as well. The proposal was well received by all members of the council. The council was also presented with the suggestion of an economic development organization that would handle matters alongside the development specialist. The topic will be further discussed at a future meeting.

In other action from the Richland Center City Council meeting Tuesday (May 16) night, the council approved campground rules and regulations for the 2017 camping season. Council members also approved the replacement of a police radio damaged by lightning recently, as well as the replacement of a city parks & grounds pool vacuum for $2,500. Finally, the council approved a temporary Class “B” wine and beer license from the Richland Hospital Foundation for “Taste of the Hills”, which will be held the afternoon of June 17th at Richland Center's Krouskop Park.