Saturday, April 20, 2019

Tomah council approves TID related requests

The Tomah City Council approved a tax increment financing (TID) request from a Tomah woman interested in starting daycare and spa for dogs in the former Veterans Assistance Foundation building at 312 Superior Ave.

Kathleen Cipriani submitted an application for financial assistance from tax increment finance (TID #8) revenue. Cipriani plans to renovate the building for a business she will call Doogie's Doggie Daycare and Spa.

Cipriani submitted her plan before Tomah's Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC), which granted approval for council consideration. The LRPC recommended allowing a $15,000 loan with an additional $10,000 to be available as needed for the business. The money will be used for Cipriani to upgrade the front facade of the building, per TID stipulations for buildings to meet master plan compliance.

According to Cipriani's business plan an extensive reconfiguration is needed to provide space for grooming, activity area and for other services the business will provide.

The council approved a resolution to borrow a $1.9 million general obligation promissory note to fund the street light project for Superior Avenue and Goose and Gopher avenue infrastructure work for the new Tomah hospital and Gundersen Clinic.

Debt payments will be paid from revenue from TID #8 (created for downtown improves) and TID #10, which includes the construction site for the medical campus. A portion of the street project will be reimbursed by the hospital to pay off the debt when money is received.

The council approved a request to help alleviate a space crunch for the Tomah Youth Wrestling Club. The club is seeking to lease available space above the Tomah Senior Center for a summer wrestling program. In the past Senior Center director Pam Buchda has expressed interest in raising additional funds for the Center.

The club sought council support before asking parents to fund possible program expenses. The lease amount approved is $400/month. The letter indicates recognition that seniors take precedence and make sure practices not conflict with senior activities on the ground level.

The council heard the first reading for outdoor entertainment and live music ordinance for Tomah businesses. The city's current zoning ordinance does not allow or regulate outdoor entertainment/live music. Language covers the process for license application, restrictions, investigation steps and other information.

During respective department reports, Public Works director conceded his department has upset residents with the removal of approximately 200 trees around the city to stay ahead of disease concerns for other trees. That is the bad news. The good news, Arity said the Tomah Rotary has plans to plant 95 trees to offset that loss. The number of trees coincides with the Rotary's 95th birthday, he said.

Arity reported the completion of the long awaited Tomah visitors building across from Gillett Park is near. Contractors have been doing exterior concrete work.  The building will feature public restrooms and information brochures. The target date for public occupancy is May 22, the same day as the Our Town Tomah spring planting day.

Arity also recognized the impending retirement of longtime department employee who is retiring after 38 years.

Tomah Fire Department firefighters were able to get some valuable training thanks to Gerke Excavating, according to chief Tim Adler. The company owned a vacant home outside Tomah on Highway 21. It was provided as a training site for firefighters in a couple of weeks ago.

After daylong exercises were complete the home was ignited and burned to the ground. Adler said those opportunities are a valuable asset for any department.

Tomah Area Ambulance Service director Randy Dunford said the search for the best option continues for a new ambulance building. While unable to provide any specific details, Dunford did add, "I'm hoping soon to have more in depth details on that project."

Tomah police chief Mark Nicholson said the department is losing a longtime member. After 22 years Sgt. Chris Weaver has resigned to accept a captain's position with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department. His last day at the TPD is April 12.

In other police news of interest, while alternate side parking related to winter expired April 1, Nicholson asked residents to mind a city ordinance for the length of time for boats and campers to be parked on streets. If appearing to be parked indefinitely citations will be issued. Check with the Tomah PD for specifics.

Outgoing aldermen Wayne Kling and Remy Gomez were recognized for their council service. Both were defeated in the April 2 election. Donna Evans beat Kling for the Dist. 7 seat. Sue Holme defeated Gomez for the Dist. 8 seat.

Kling served three years and Gomez served six months. Kling said he plans to remain active with city business through committee service. With a short taste of public service Gomez said he plans to return as a council candidate in the future.

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