Dorchester considers new ice racing event
Dorchester’s lake may be the site of a new racing event in February, but first, the local park board has to sign off on the idea.
Scott Strassburger of the Central Wisconsin Ice Racing Association convinced members of the village board Monday to give their blessing for a four-wheeler and dirt bike racing event on Feb. 29 — but only if the park board also grants its approval.
Park board members Wayne Rau and Gene Peissig attended Monday’s meeting — held at the new village clerk’s office at 250 Parkside Dr. — and asked several questions about the proposed event.
Peissig said the park board wants to know more about the racing association that’s organizing the event, which would take place on the frozen surface of the lake in the park.
Strassburger said CWIRA has been around for about 50 years, and they have many members who are willing to help set up and run their racing events. He said local residents have reached out to him about starting a new event.
“I think it would be a great thing for the community,” he said. “A lot of people came and asked me about it.”
The races usually draw about 220 entries, he said, and the group is always willing to share proceeds with the local community. He suggested charging an admissions fee, but local officials said that’s really not possible because of how the park is laid out.
Peissig said park board members are concerned about ruts in the grass left behind by trucks and trailers used to haul the racing vehicles. He said it creates of extra work for them in the spring.
Strassburger said his group will be willing to “throw some dirt down” in the spring to help repair any damage to the grass at the park.
Rau said the park board’s next regularly scheduled meeting isn’t until January, but he thinks they may be able to schedule a special meeting later this month to discuss the proposed race.
For the past few winters, snowmobile races have been held on the lake, but those are not planned for 2020.
_ Jenny Halopka, who leases Memorial Hall from the village and books events at the facility, asked again about the progress of renovations at the hall.
Village president Kurt Schwoch said concrete for a new wheelchair ramp was poured earlier this year, but railings still need to be installed.
Halopka said she was told that the ramp would be fully installed by October, which led some of her renters to expect handicap accessibility when they booked the hall.
“We’re moving as fast as funding and contractors will let us,” Schwoch told her.
Since taking over the lease, Halopka said she’s tried to make sure the hall is used as much as possible by the community. She said there are currently activities held there every day of the week, from basketball games to church events.
Next year’s wedding season is almost completely booked already, she added.
“The hall is being used,” she said. “I want you guys to know that.”
Halopka also told board members about an upcoming craft fair at the hall, which will be used to raise money for future renovations at the hall.
_ The board approved a new Class A liquor license and cigarette license for the River County Cooperative, the new name of the C-Store on CTH A and STH 13.
_ The board approved a 2020 budget with a property tax levy of $233,740.
_ The board approved changes to the ordinance regulating outdoor fires. The new language sets size and setback limits for campfires and requires residents to get a free annual license from the clerk’s office if they plan on having fires throughout the year. The ordinance also allows the village to temporarily prohibit outdoor fires if weather conditions make it dangerous.
Police chief Gary Leichtman noted that all previously issued burning permits are now null and void.
_ The board approved an annual $1,500 donation to the park board.
_ The board took no action on a proposal discussed last month to prohibit parking in front of mailboxes. Trustee Justin Duranceau, who originally proposed the idea, said he’s willing to drop it now that parking conditions on North Fourth Street have reportedly improved after residents complained last year.
_ Duranceau presented the rest of the board with a sample ordinance from Oconto to allow and regulate the operation of golf carts on village streets. The board agreed to table the issue for further discussion at their January meeting.
_ The board approved the appointment of Linda Baumann to fill a vacancy on the police committee. Chief Leichtman recommended her and said she has experience as an MP in the military.
_ The board voted to pre-pay $50,000 on a general fund loan used to finance the purchase and remodeling of the new clerk’s office building.
_ The board scheduled the village’s spring caucus for Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m., immediately before the regular board meeting.