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Lights out in Waupaca

Updates on street lamps, urban deer

By Angie Landsverk

The removal of 92 street lights in the city of Waupaca will take months once its begins.

That is what Director of Public Works Justin Berrens told the Waupaca Common Council during its Feb. 22 meeting.

He planned to double-check which lights are scheduled for removal before contacting Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and asking it to start removing them.

On Feb. 7, the council voted to remove 92 WPS lights, begin transitioning to LED lights throughout the city and update the city’s Street Light Policy.

The removal of the 92 WPS-owned lights will result in an annual cost savings of about $24,000 for the city.

There are currently 565 WPS lights in the city, and the 92 lights being removed represents 16.3 percent of that figure.

The city is also asking WPS to updgrade its lights to LEDS.

Several WPS-owned lights in the city have already been upgraded to LEDs, including one on Lake Street and another on Lakeside Parkway, Berrens said.

He learned from WPS that the city may ask it to upgrade as many as 12 WPS-owned lights in the city to LEDS per year.

Berrens will be requesting that number each year.

He said switching to LED on WPS-owned street lights will save the city about $1.25 per light per month.

The city owns and maintains 86 street lights on Fulton Street.

The common council also voted to upgrade those lights to LEDs, at a cost of $27,000.

That upgrade is already underway and will pay for itself in five years with its energy savings, Berrens told the Waupaca County Post.

The recommendations to eliminate 92 WPS lights, upgrade other city lights to LEDs and update the city’s Street Light Policy followed a review by Berrens of the street light policies in other communities.

He first reviewed the city’s policy and did a street light inventory after learning Waupaca’s light bill was comparable to the city of Wausau’s bill.

Waupaca’s updated policy outlines where lights should be located.

It also includes information about how property owners may request the installation or removal of a street light adjacent to their property.

Such requests should be submitted to the city’s Public Works Department.

The department will inform adjacent property owners of the requests, and those property owners may then submit comments in favor of or against the requests.

The decisions of the Public Works Department may be appealed to the common council, with council decisions being final.

Development update
The common council approved a developer’s agreement with Doc Atty’s by a vote of 6-1-0 when it met on Feb. 22.

Ald. Alan Kjelland abstained, and Lori Chesnut, Paul Hagen and Scott Purchatzke were absent.

“It’s basically the culmination of two years of work,” said Brennan Kane, the city’s director of community and economic development.

In October 2014, the common council approved a special use permit request from the LLC to turn the former Edgewood Arts building at 109 N. Main St. into a brewery, distillery and winery.

The following year, the council authorized city staff to submit a grant application through the Community Development Investment Grant program.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation authorizes and maintains the program.

Last year, the city was awarded a grant not to exceed $225,739.

The city worked with representatives from Doc Atty’s for several months to determine the viability of the proposed project and its business plan.

Last November, the council directed city staff to continue those negotiations and to prepare a developer’s agreement.

The approved agreement includes that Doc Atty’s must provide a letter of credit in an amount not to exceed $225,739 to secure that the project is viable for five years.

The project is a partnership between the city, state and Doc Atty’s, he said.

The letter of credit protects the citizens of Waupaca during the duration of the grant program, he said.

“We support the business. We want them to succeed,” Kane said. “I think it’s a great investment and redevelopment downtown. We hope this is just another catalytic project that energizes reinvestment.”

Construction is expected to begin by the end of April.

During last week’s meeting, Kane also told the council the Carousel Gymnastics and Little Wolf Automotive projects are complete.

Reconstruction of Bonnie’s Bloomers is underway, following the Feb. 3 fire that destroyed the building that was under construction.

He said Bonnie Timm, who owns Bonnie’s Bloomers, expects it to be up by May 1.

Last week’s warmer temperatures helped, he said.

Urban deer
The recommendations of the city’s Deer Management Ad Hoc Committee will be the topic of a public informational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in the council chambers.

The common council voted to hold the meeting before taking action itself on the recommendations.

The March 21 meeting will be open to the public and will precede the council’s meeting.

On Feb. 13, the ad hoc committee unanimously agreed to take seven recommendations to the council.

Among the recommendations are to decrease the city’s urban deer population with a managed bow hunt.

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