FROM THE DESK OF MAYOR MIKE

Welcome to September. Our road construction projects are trying to wrap up and the Fall street projects are moving forward. The days are getting shorter, but the workload isn’t. We are ready to present our capital budget to the Finance Committee on Monday, September 13th. This shows what “big ticket” items are requested for 2022. We here at City Hall have been working together to make sure we prioritize our needs to fit within the budget that Council has determined.

You have probably noticed that the old laundromat on Division St. has been removed. This was acquired by the city so we can move forward on a partnership project with UWSP to re-establish a corridor between Business 51 and the campus on Isadore St. You may also soon see the Point Motel coming down as a developer has bought it and is constructing new apartments on that site. Belke Lumber is also going to be deconstructed soon and we have some exciting prospects for that location.

Going up, is Dunkin’ Doughnuts and Baskin-Robbins. They are slated for an October opening. The Point Brewery’s Beer Garden is scheduled for a ribbon cutting on Friday, Sept. 3 and should be available for bookings after that.

With the Labor Day holiday, our regular Plan Commission meeting has been moved to Tuesday, September 7th. More information is available at stevenspoint.com, but on that agenda we include:

  • A plan review to install a gazebo at Veterans Memorial Park, as an Eagle Scout project.
  • A discussion only agenda item to update everyone on the neighborhood meetings that have taken place this summer on the proposed ADU/ACU ordinance. Staff will be giving a presentation discussing these neighborhood meetings and present an updated ordinance proposal for feedback and discussion. There will be NO formal action required by the Plan Commission at this time.
  • A presentation by City staff on the US Census population data release. Numbers went down but the UWSP enrollment was also down during this period and seemingly attributed to the decline and we have realized a more ethnically diverse population. Redistricting our Aldermanic districts is going on right now to adjust for the population changes.

We still have lots going on including Jazzfest this weekend and a dedication of the Freedom Eagle sculptures at Cultural Commons on September 18th along with Art in the Park the same day.

From the Desk of Mayor Mike

August 23, 2021

As summer draws to a close I’d like to hit on a few of the highlights and provide insight into what the rest of the year might bring.

Development in the city has been focusing on housing in 2021. The Berkshire has been completed and has nearly filled up already. Northside Yard, on the former Lullaby site, is coming along nicely and will likely be completed in first half of 2022. There are a few other housing projects that will take us well into 2022, also. Housing options are critical to a workforce and a workforce is critical to any community’s growth. The spectrum of housing needs is broad and Stevens Point is trying to address all of them. We’ve recently creating another housing task force that is made up of stakeholders including developers, property managers, realtors and contractors to help up achieve our diverse housing needs.

Recreational opportunities are also a key element of a livable community and Stevens Point has been making improvements in that area, too. We are currently looking at a Bukolt Park bath house rehabilitation project and what that might look like. We’re created natural prairies within the city along with pollinator gardens.

We’ve partnered with UWSP to re-establish a corridor between Business 51 and the Campus in what was the former Maytag Laundromat. The building will be razed soon. Also slated for deconstruction is the Belke Lumber facility on 2nd street. We’ve worked with Barry Calnan to help preserve it’s legacy by creating a virtual walk through. That is available online, along with our Historic Firehouse, HERE.

Infrastructure is always a challenge and 2021’s construction season is beginning to wrap up. We’ve replaced water, sewer and storm pipes on the city’s north side. These utilities were some of the oldest in the city and were not built to handle the amount of use they now serve. These upgrades will help with flooding issues along those streets and better serve those neighborhoods. We generally have some funds left unspent on our large projects and that money allows us to address roads and alleys that have a high need, but maybe not as critical as those larger projects. Our fall paving projects will begin soon and this year we’ll be working on Gilkay, Miller Court and several alleys between Clark and Jefferson, east of Michigan Ave.

Finally, school is starting back up. UWSP moves in this weekend and we’ll have thousands of new community members learning their way around the city. Please be patient and helpful as we welcome them to Stevens Point. Drive carefully and keep an eye out for young people walking, biking or skateboarding.

From the Desk of Mayor Mike

In the hopes of getting the word out more about the topics that you want to know about, this column will highlight some of the issues we’ll be considering at our regular Common Council meeting on Monday, August 16th at 7pm in the Community Room at 933 Michigan Ave.

Our meeting agendas are posted in several locations before the meetings, but not everyone sees them. Rather than you reading about what has already happened, this column will highlight some of the things that are coming up in our meetings. As always, I’d love feedback on ways to improve this, so please reach out via stevenspoint.com and send me an email or even a quick call.

The Finance Committee approved a motion to fund all sidewalk continuation projects through the property tax levy that will likely result in an increase. This has had no real opportunity for public discussion as the issue was only brought up in last Monday’s meeting and Council could approve this on Monday.

We will also seek approval for our regular revaluation of assessed properties in the city as mandated by the State, when we fall out of their compliance rules.

Our Transportation Manager, Susan Lemke, has recently retired from the City. We thank her for years of dedicated service and wish her well. Because of the retirement, The Personnel Committee approved the restructuring of the management team. The Personnel Committee also approved a request for reclassification for two positions in our Economic Development team as well as consideration of a stipend pay for those who acquire additional related (and approved) professional certifications.

A few street closings for events are going to be considered for the Pointoberfest and Blubber Run on September 18th, Give & Live Better 5k run/walk on August 28th and the 5th annual Purple Ribbon Walk on October 1st. We will also be discussing updates to our public participation plan for Community Development Block Grant Funding.

We’re also approving our fall paving projects at a cost of just over $236,000 from American Asphalt.

Most meetings happen on Monday evening, but not all. All of our agendas, along with documents related to these items can be found at stevenspoint.com or our mobile app. You can find the meetings live streamed or after the fact on 105.9 WSNP-LP, our cable access channel or from our website.

Why a blog?

Since I’ve taken office, I’ve strived to find ways to not only keep people informed about what is going on in our community, but tried to encourage people to become involved.

We’ve enhanced our cable access channel, started our own radio station (WSMP-LP 105.9FM), created a City app for iOS and Android phones, formed several citizen advisory committees and tried to better utilize social media. This next step comes from ideas generated by your Alderpersons who are looking for ways to better connect with their constituents and keep them informed about things going on in their respective districts.

I give you….. the Blog! Blog is a combination of two words, web and log. The concept has been around for many years as a way for people to put thoughts to paper (virtual paper, I guess) and share it with anyone who cares to read it.

As a public entity, we need to follow a few laws and therefore we do not allow comments or discussions to take place on a blog. If you want to share your thoughts with me or any of the Alders, contact us directly.

Also, it is important to note that anything written in this blog or any other blog for that matter, do not necessarily reflect those of the City of Stevens Point or should be taken as such.

From time to time, I may post thoughts or share some of the things your City has been working on. We’ll monitor to see how useful the blog is as yet another tool to help you connect with your local government.