Planning commission reviews master plan updates for parks, approves YMCA permit request
By Lori Adler, reporter
Justin Frahm of JSD Professional Services presented at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rhinelander planning commission to discuss updates made the master plans for Hodag and Pioneer parks. Plans for both parks have recently been presented to the public for review and comment. The main objective of Frahm’s presentation was to show the commission the updates that have been made to both plans in response to the public comments.
A recent open house held regarding the proposed Pioneer Park plan provided Frahm and his team with many suggestions. The open house gave the public, including groups who utilize the park regularly, a chance to ask questions and make suggestions on the design and components of the park. Frahm explained how adjustments have been made to the park plan based upon these suggestions, comments and concerns. The newly updated plan is available for public review and comment.
“I commend the public output and input,” Frahm remarked.
Frahm then went on to explain changes made to the Hodag Park plan, based upon public feedback and commission input. The Hodag Park plan is much farther along in the process as the planning for this park began first. A full site survey showing all boundaries, grades and utilities has now been performed and has been documented in the draft master plan.
The next step in the process for Hodag Park will be to have an informational session, tentatively scheduled for mid-November, giving all the stakeholders of Hodag Park a chance to review the plan and make any final suggestions and recommendations.
“It’s going to be, I would say, less of a formal meeting or public open house, but it’s going to be us coming to city hall and just spending a day or an afternoon or whatever it takes and providing an opportunity for stakeholder groups to come in,” Frahm stated.
In addition to the stakeholder suggestions, the planning commission will need to make some final decisions. Currently, park plans show pavilions and splash pads at both Hodag and Pioneer Parks. The commission will need to determine if both parks will have both of these facilities or if these will be divided between the two parks. Once all the final design decisions are made, a full cost analysis will be created to provide the planning commission with a dollar figure for all the improvements proposed to Hodag Park.
It is anticipated that the final master plan for Hodag Park will be completed within the next two months, while Pioneer Park is still in the earlier stages of the process. The most recently updated plans are available on the city’s website (rhinelandercityhall.org) for public viewing. As always, citizen comments on either plan are welcome.
YMCA Conditional Use Permit Request
The planning commission also discussed a conditional use permit requested by the YMCA for a proposed childcare facility. The YMCA has offered to purchase the old South Park School building to create a larger childcare facility, but the offer is based upon the city granting the conditional use permit.
“I am very enthused about this,” planning commission member Sandra Bergman stated, adding, “This is certainly going to give the opportunity to many people to have their children adequately cared for while they pursue a career or just work for their daily bread. I see no reason not to approve this.” Bergman then moved to approve the permit request.
One citizen who lives across the street from the proposed childcare location came forward with safety concerns about the increased traffic. It was noted that the traffic, however, would not be more than when the building operated as a school. In addition, the commission promised to speak with the police department about increased vigilance for traffic violations in that area.
The commission then approved the YMCA’s conditional use permit request unanimously.
The next meeting of the Rhinelander Planning Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3, at 6 p.m. at city hall.