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Marathon road grant denied

Marathon road grant denied Marathon road grant denied

Administrator Kurtz calls decision ”extremely disappointing”

The federal Department of Commerce has turned down the Village of Marathon City’s grant request to develop a frontage road north of STH 29 and the village now may need to self-fund the road and other related improvements over the next several years, administrator Andy Kurtz told board members last week Wednesday.

The village, with the help of the North Central Regional Planning Commission, applied for a Economic Development Administration grant, understanding that it could qualify given its median household income. It turns out, however, that no municipality in Marathon County can qualify because average income here is too high.

“This is extremely disappointing,” said Kurtz.

The frontage road is key to development of land purchased from Herman Hilmerhsuasen north of the four-lane highway. The village has repeatedly tried to get the state Department of Transportation to fund the road, but has been turned down.

Kurtz told trustees it may be up to the village to pay for the frontage road itself. He said he has contacted the town of Stettin to discuss a joint maintenance agreement for town roads leading to the village land north of the highway. Currently, Kurtz said, the town has the option of imposing weight limits on access roads, which could inhibit development. He said a road maintenance agreement would be a way to keep weight limits off those access roads. Kurtz said he has been contacted by two unnamed organizations interested in building on the village property north of STH 29. In other village board business:

_ It was reported the Marathon City Plan Commission voted to recommend to the village board to change the zoning of Veterans Park from recreational to multi-family residential.

The zoning change is needed as part of a larger plan to move the park to land acquired by St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church east of Marathon Area Elementary School in the town of Marathon.

Administrator Kurtz said a party seeking to develop the land is seeking financial support through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

He said the zoning change is a step in what will be a long process to move the park. “This is the first of many subsequent steps to get us where we want to go,” Kurtz said.

_ Kurtz reported two Marathon businesses are interested in contracting with the village to haul away snow this winter.

_ Administrator Kurtz said the village has gone to Marathon County Circuit Court to enforce village ordinances in regards apartments at 604,606 and 608 Main Street. Depending on the action of the court, the village board may be asked to issue a raze order.

Board members complained about furniture and a refrigerator left outside the apartments.

_ It was announced Marathon County will install a Wi-Fi transmitter outside the Marathon City Branch Library by Nov. 16. The Wi-Fi can be used by the public, especially students who need the internet for virtual education.

_ Administrator Kurtz reported on a “very smooth” election on Nov. 3 that had 920 ballots, which included 345 absentee ballots. The flow of people at the election was set up to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection, he said. People who entered from the south door to the village community room exited out a side door to a parking lot.

_ Kurtz said the 2021 village budget would go to a public hearing and could be approved Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The budget, he said, currently calls for moving Veterans Park to the east side of CTH NN as part of a joint project with St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, which wants to colocate a day care center on 27 acres it has purchased.

Kurtz said the project would be paid for with $1 million in land sales, $1.51 million in identified donations and $565,000 in grants of which, currently, $65,000 has been awarded.

The administrator said the project would not use village tax levy or incur village debt.

_ The board voted to name Joe Westfall to the Marathon Utility Commission to replace Ted Knoeck who has resigned.

_ Board members voted to annex the St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church property in the town of Marathon into the village. The property will be tax exempt.

Administrator Kurtz said the village would serve the parcel with water and sewer even if the Veterans Park plan does not go forward.