Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

West Bend Plan Commission to consider Kwik Trip No. 4

The West Bend Plan Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday, June 11 to consider a rezoning and a request for a conditional use permit for a gas station on 5.9 acres of land.

The parcel involves 1610 E. Washington Street, the vacant land adjacent to the west of that property and the vacant lot on S. River Road north of 411 E. Washington Street.

The request is being made by Kwik Trip. If approved this would be the fourth Kwik Trip in West Bend. Early plans show two entrances off Schoenhaar Drive, an entrance off River Road and another off E. Washington Street, a convenience store and a car wash.

The public hearing is being held for a request to amend the 2020 Comprehensive Plan for a change in recommended land use from industrial land use to commercial land use for approximately 0.77 acres of land located on the east side of N. River Road, approximately 300’ north of E. Washington Street, by Kwik Trip, Inc.

On May 7, 2019 the Plan Commission reviewed the request for a change in land use from industrial to commercial and zoning from M-2 Heavy Industrial to B-1 Community Business District for an approximately 0.77 acre outlot located approximately 300’ north of E. Washington Street on the east side of N. River Road. As a part of the review, the Plan Commission set a public hearing date for June 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm to hear any comments or concerns regarding the proposed land use change and zoning request.

In 2014, the then owner of the property obtained a land use and zoning change for the outlot. The outlot was going to be combined with the industrial lands to the north for a building expansion. Kwik Trip is now requesting a change to return the land use and zoning for the outlot to a commercial use to allow this outlot to be combined with adjacent commercially zoned lands for development.

The surrounding existing land uses are; industrial to the north, commercial to the west, south and east of the outlot. Given the surrounding existing uses, staff finds the proposed use would be an acceptable alternative since the lands would be combined with other commercial lands to the east for development.

Prior to revising the zoning from M-2 Heavy Industrial District to B-1 Community Business District, as requested, the City’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan would need to be amended to be consistent with the proposed zoning. The Plan Commission meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11 in the council chambers at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

Longbranch for sale in Barton    

The former Long Branch Saloon in Barton is for sale…. again. Adam Williquette, Broker and Owner of American Commercial Real Estate, listed the property this week for $425,000.

The parcel, 1800 Barton Avenue, last sold Feb. 9, 2018 to Boro Buzdum for $100,000.

In 2018 the property was listed through Re/Max United and Paula Becker. It was initially priced at $184,500 and eventually dropped to $139,000.

The property was last assessed at $242,200. The local restaurant at the corner of Barton Avenue and Commerce Street closed in early 2016.  Over the years the building went to a Sheriff’s sale and then got hung up in the system.

Scharschmidt Chiropractic building has been sold

The former Schaarschmidt Chiropractic building, also known as the castle building, 235 N. 18th Avenue in West Bend has sold.

Kurt and Janine Schaarschmidt built the 5,385-square-foot office space.  “This used to be an apple orchard owned by the Barth sisters,” said Kurt Schaarschmidt. “We opened Dec. 20, 1991 and Larry Bunkelman from Bunkelman Builders was our builder.”

Schaarschmidt said he was going for an English Tudor look. “Originally it was a house plan that came out of Arizona and we adapted it to a clinic,” said Janine Schaarschmidt.

Daniel Hess from Glendale closed on the purchase of the building March 23, 2016 for $625,000. It has been vacant and for lease since February 2017.

The 2019 assessment on the property was $720,900. Dr. Krysti Wick from River Shores Chiropractic in West Bend purchased the property.  The sale price was $560,000.

“This is going to be our forever home in West Bend,” said Wick.

A couple of things that attracted Wick to the property were that it was a chiropractic clinic before so “there’s not a ton of setup needed inside.” Wick expects to relocate her practice within the next year. “It has a homey, family feel,” she said. “My hope is we’ll move into the building sometime next year at this time.”

Adam Williquette, Broker and Owner of American Commercial Real Estate oversaw the transaction.

Washington Co. Board to vote Wed., June 12 on county executive form of government

There will be a meeting Wednesday, June 12 when the Washington County Board Executive Committee is expected to vote to convert Washington County to a county executive form of government.

Washington County currently operates with an appointed county administrator. The proposal is to make that a non-partisan elected position.

There was a public discussion held May 22. County Supervisors and members of the community who favored the change mentioned things like “managing development” and needing “new ideas and new people.”

Those against electing a county executive noted things like having “less representation from less populated areas” and “giving too much power to one man.”

Diane Petersen of Richfield brought up a number of points at the public discussion including the fact the county administrator could be removed by the county board but an elected county executive could only be removed by the governor.

After the public meeting some neighbors in attendance expressed concern about losing farmland to development, having little representation from smaller towns and villages in the county and concerns about a comment made by a county supervisor to reduce the size of the county board again, which would mean more power held by a few.

County attorney Brad Stern said once the resolution is approved there’s no going back. “The only way to undo it is for the community to file a petition and ask for a referendum,” he said. “The county board just can’t change it’s mind and go back to the old way of doing thing.”

Stern said according to statute the decision on changing the county’s form of government could be done by a petition referendum or the decision could be made by the county board.

Also note, in the resolution language, the termination of the contract with the current county administrator would cost “approximately $130,000 and does not include wages and benefits due under the contract terms through the date of transition. Additional fiscal impact is indeterminate at this time including possible additional election costs.”

Restoring the interior art at the Historic West Bend Theatre   | By John Torinus

Historic West Bend Theatre, Inc. (HWBT) has selected Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc., of New Berlin, along with renowned local artist Chuck Dwyer, as its contractor for replication of the artwork that decorated the original 1929 interior of the “house.”

A historic paint analysis revealed elaborate artwork throughout the movie house. Much of it was stenciled art that covers the pilasters, spaces below eight well-preserved urns, beams and ceiling.

The artwork was painted over sometime during its 90-year history with maroon paint.

Tracings and digital photos of the stencil patterns will guide the artists in replicating the bright and colorful artwork throughout the historic building.

Eileen Grogan of Conrad Schmitt said a process similar to the original stencil process would be used in the restoration.

“All the history is there,” she said. “We are going to restore it by the book.”

Conservator Brian Fick with Evergreene Architectural Arts was the one who uncovered the five-color stencil pattern on a shield shape with two birds. “It looks a bit Germanic which, in an art-deco context is a little odd but it kind of suits the area,” he said.

Fick uncovered the mural using solvents and gels. A large breathing apparatus is on the floor next to the dusty theatre seats.

“I knew there was something there because I could see a bit of shadow,” he said.

Pointing to the ceiling Fick highlights some of the black lines of another pattern of work.

“This piece will be documented and I’m taking samples,” Fick said. “We take the paint from the plaster it’s painted on all the way through to the top layer. We then cut that so you see the paint layers in cross section and that can give a better, more accurate representation of what the color was.” The cost of the artwork reparation will be about $100,000.

“We had not expected to discover that added historical element for the building,” said Nic Novaczyk, HWBT president. “We did not budget for this unforeseen expense, so we are asking our broad base of supporters in the community to help raise this added amount.”

There will be a community event July 18 to help with that ask.

Conrad Schmitt president Gunar Gruenke said the firm has retained Dwyer, a well-known regional artist in the intricate project. Dwyer was Valedictorian from the Milwaukee School of Art and Design (now MIAD) and studied in Europe. His restoration assignments include the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the murals at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Dwyer said he didn’t much notice the artwork in the theatre when he was a kid at movies. “I was more worried about whether I could hold the girl’s hand,” he said.  “I’ll do the best job I can. It will be a lot of fun.”

Saying goodbye to the legacy of St. Joe’s Hospital as name changed to Froedtert West Bend

Froedtert hospitals including St. Joseph’s Hospital Campus in the Town of Polk is going to have a name change. Community names, according to Tom Duncan, vice present and COO of Froedtert South, is the goal.

According to an article in The Journal Times Duncan was quoted saying, “By emphasizing community location and the Froedtert name, we will identify to local residents that they have access across the region to the high-quality service for which Froedtert Hospital is known.”

The name of St. Joseph’s Hospital dates to the late 1920’s when the cornerstone of the original hospital was ‘laid in November 1929 and in spite of a rigorous winter, building progressed rapidly, and the dedication ceremony took place July 2, 1930.’

At the time St. Joe’s was located on the corner of Silverbrook and Oak Street in West Bend.

Former nurses and doctors recalled a community hospital where staff was family.

The news of a name change felt like the next shoe to drop according to former St. Joe’s staff including Carol Daniels.

“I knew that would happen; there’s no way they would not advertise their business,” said Daniels of West Bend.

Shirley Laufer, 80, has been retired from St. Joe’s for 13 years.

“It’s a sign of the times,” said Laufer. “To anybody that’s new in the area they consider it Froedtert but you think St. Joe’s you think West Bend. I still think the name St. Joe’s kinda gives you an idea of where it’s at and to people who live in the area will always know it as St. Joe’s.”

New active senior living apartment complex in downtown West Bend

A proposed five to six-story active senior living apartment-style complex is being proposed near downtown West Bend. The site is a 4.45-acre parcel on the south end of the former Gehl property just to the west of S. Forest Avenue.

RTN Development, LLC, based in Minnesota, stepped forward with the proposal and in closed session at Monday night’s, June 3, Common Council meeting entered into an with the City. The purchase of the property is still being negotiated.

Todd Novaczyk, is CEO with RTN Development.  “This will be a market-rate rental,” said Novaczyk. “There will be about 130 to 150 units with underground parking.”

The new development is proposed to be for active seniors who will then have the luxury of enjoying our vibrant downtown while living in a facility with outstanding amenities provided by company with a proven track record of success.

Novaczyk said the timeline on the development hinges on several factors. “If we can get through City Council and get our plans done and get approvals, we could conceivably break ground this fall,” he said. That former Gehl Company property had been under remediation for the past 7+ years.

MOWA | DTN opens Tuesday, June 4 in Milwaukee

The Museum of Wisconsin Art is expanding as a satellite gallery opens in the new Saint Kate Arts Hotel today in Downtown Milwaukee.

“I’m really excited for this extended space,” said MOWA Executive Director Laurie Winters.

The new hotel is the former InterContinental Hotel, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave; it’s part of the Marcus Hotels & Resorts Inc. One of the first pieces of art at MOWA | DTN features a poet phone by Mark Claussen. “If that takes you back a couple of decades, it should,” said Winters. “It’s a revitalized booth from the late ’70s and if you pick up the receiver you hear poems by seven of the greatest poets in Wisconsin all about downtown in keeping with the theme of the exhibition.”

Listen in as Winters explains part of the inspiration toward expanding MOWA’s reach. “The river will carry your mission throughout the state,” said artist Truman Lowe.

Winters said Greg and Linda Marcus invited MOWA to be part of the Saint Kate Art Hotel and the “answer was a resounding yes, absolutely.”

“It took us about two seconds to make the decision because Greg and Linda have the highest standards and they have an incredible vision for art.

The first exhibition for MOWA | DTN is called ‘Downtown.’

“We asked 10 artists to reflect on what downtown means to them,” said Winters. Each room at the Saint Kate Arts Hotel comes with a red phonograph and a ukulele. MOWA | DTN at Saint Kate The Arts Hotel is free and open to the public.

RSVP Interfaith of Washington County Senior Corps Program of the Year  

The Interfaith RSVP program through Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County began in 2017. Based in West Bend, their mission is “to connect seniors with caring volunteers” with a vision that “all seniors in Washington County will have access to the resources necessary to                maintain safe, healthy independence and age in place.”

RSVP Interfaith of Washington County provides volunteer transportation and other assistance services for anyone in the county who is over the age of 60 and is of limited means and                mobility. In 2018, RSVP Interfaith of Washington County volunteers served over 1,000 elderly citizens in Washington County with 11,708 rides in a volunteer’s personal vehicle or in one of Interfaith’s fleet of 8 wheelchair accessible minivans.

In 2018, RSVP volunteers drove over 220,000 miles to 290 unique service destinations, with over 2,000 of these rides serving wheelchair-bound seniors and over 3,500 to out of county destinations where public transportation does not serve.

Interfaith RSVP volunteers also provided over 5,000 “other” assistance services, including spring and fall yard clean-up, friendly visits, therapy dog visits, reassurance calls, light housekeeping, home repair, snow shoveling, stock box and meals on wheels delivery, and other services as requested

Additionally, RSVP volunteers operate a durable health equipment lending program at two sites in Washington County and a community resource referral program, making it possible to loan out over 1,000 pieces of equipment. Through the transportation services that allow seniors to continue to live independently, the socialization and companionship provided to home bound seniors through friendly visits, and to seniors as a whole through other services, Washington County is a better place for its aging population because of the service of RSVP Interfaith of Washington County volunteers.

Updates & tidbits

– St. John’s Lutheran in West Bend raised $1,950 with the Eaton’s Fresh Pizza fundraiser program.  They were able to put the money towards getting a new drinking fountain/ bubbler with a water bottle dispenser.

– Richfield Village Administrator James Healy was elected President of Washington County Convention and Visitor Bureau Board.

– West Bend City Clerk Stephanie Justmann swore in Matthew Casey during this week’s Common Council meeting. Fire Chief Gerald Kudek said Casey worked at County Rescue Services in Green Bay and served the Village of Howard Fire/Rescue as a part-time employee. Casey received his paramedic associate degree from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Casey also served in the military and was deployed overseas. He was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for mission success in Guantanamo Bay.

– The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring Dad’s Day 2019.  The event is June 15 at St. Mary’s Parish in Barton from noon – 4 p.m.  There will be activities including a Bounce House with slide, food and games including a Wiffle Ball tournament.   

Letter to the Editor | No need for elected Washington County executive | By Jed Dolnick

Since Washington County was established in 1853, its county boards made it through the Second Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Information Age.

Two courthouses, a modern jail, highway system, and a fair park were built.  Neither the boards nor their chairmen were intimidated by the challenges of those times.

A board that had vision and courage now has members who want a county executive to, as Vice-Chairman Mark McCune told a newspaper reporter, “make the tough decisions.”

To listen to Chairman Don Kriefall, you would think a county executive is the single, essential person necessary for the county’s economic development. It’s as if the combined talent and resources of county staff, each municipality’s development office, and the public-private partnership of Economic Development Washington County don’t exist.

Or perhaps this is the opening gambit to “consolidate” (i.e. take over) those functions. To just perform his current duties, the existing county administrator is assisted by a “deputy county administrator” and a “public affairs coordinator.”

How many additional positions would this potential Development Czar need? Promises of “none” are often forgotten. Currently, supervisors representing their districts’ residents pass ordinances and resolutions, and decide how tax money is used. All of those decisions can be vetoed by a county executive. It’s difficult to believe that a board that can’t make tough decisions could summon the strength to overturn such a veto.

Mr. Kriefall asserts that an elected executive will assure our “quality of life.”

The cities and villages see their parks as valuable assets; the county officially ranks its parks as a low priority. Our municipalities have successfully pursued commercial, industrial, and residential development appropriate for their communities. It’s not the county executive’s job to, as he wrote, “work with developers to construct housing.”

Mr. Kriefall’s vision of county government insinuating itself into the operations of our cities, towns, and villages with “one voice, one leader” is unnecessary and unwelcomed.

An elected county executive will look to interest groups for their endorsements and money and will need the voting blocs in West Bend and Hartford to stay in office. We don’t need a county executive. We need 26 county supervisors willing to make tough decisions.

Jed Dolnick  West Bend

Disclaimer: Opinions and letters published in http://www.washingtoncountyinsider.com are not necessarily the views of the Editor, or Publisher.

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