Minocqua parks to remain open
By Dean S. Acheson
MINOCQUA – The Minocqua Town Board took up a bevy of COVID-19 issues at their Wednesday, April 15 special meeting, including a decision to keep town parks and boat landings open during the pandemic.
However, public restrooms and playground equipment such as swings and the like will be “off limits for the time being” because the virus can stay on hard surfaces for some time, said town chairman Mark Hartzheim.
As far as the parks are concerned, “there is ample room for social distancing,” he said. The two most used parks are Torpy Park in the downtown and the Highway 70 West Park.
In the other matter, the town will not collect launch fees at the landings for the time being, again because of the virus potentially staying on paper and pen.
The four-member town road crew will be back to full-time work Monday, April 20. They will be doing essential maintenance work, including sweeping streets (when road limits come off) and other summer prep work. They had been on standby status at home, but were called in occasionally to fill potholes and to snow plow. They were paid full wages during that time, the town chairman said.
The board put off the annual town meeting until April 23, but most recently Hartzheim learned that a new state law allows them to delay it even longer. At the next board meeting, May 5, the supervisors will be asked to set it for June 18. The board will also convene shortly before their May 5 meeting as the board of review. As in the past, the board of review will then be moved to October.
Future town board meetings will be continue to be held as customary in the third floor board room. If a large number of the public shows up, the meeting will be moved to the gymnasium so that “social distancing” can be maintained. Masks and sanitizer will be available regardless of where it’s held.
New concession stand operator
This summer there will be a new operator of the Torpy Park concession stand. The board approved the request by Minocqua Brewing Company to run the facility. The Picnic Spot had previously held the May-October lease. The lease is for $100 weekly. Sales are limited to non-alcoholic beverages, light lunch menu, sides, snacks and frozen treats, along with sunscreen and swim diapers.
The town will apply for a Wisconsin Department of Transportation grant that would pay 80% of the cost of a multi-use path between Manitou Park Drive and Northern Road. The town is working with the state Department of Transportation to extend the sidewalk from the Highway 51 bridge to Manitou Park Drive. A large retaining wall goes to the curb and blocks pedestrians and bicyclists, who then have to step into the lane of traffic to get by. The DOT has revised the cost to remove a portion of the retaining wall to accommodate the new sidewalk, Hartzheim said.
The town clerk was directed to get quotes from area lenders for loan rates with the eye of borrowing money to do reconstruction of East and West Park Avenue this summer and next. With loan rates at their present low, the town may consolidate other loans with it into one package.
In other actions, the board:
Designated the town clerk and police chief as agents for issuing operator licenses (commonly called “bartender’s licenses”) following passage of Senate Bill 203 that authorized such designations;
Named a new private road off East Squaw Lake Road as Howling Trail Road. Oneida County asks towns to approve names for such private roads so that they can be entered in a data base for emergency responders;
Reauthorized all terrain vehicle (ATV) summer routes in the township;
Went into closed session to consider discipline of a town employee. No action was taken and the matter is deemed closed, the town chairman said.