Whitewater common council meeting Tuesday, march 3

The Whitewater Common Council met on Tuesday, March 3 at the Whitewater Municipal building before a moderately-sized crowd. Although the meeting was rather brief and the agenda short, the council took time to honor retired Whitewater Parks and Streets Superintendent and City Forester, Chuck Nass. Jeff Roe, the urban forestry team leader for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources presented the award to Nass during the meeting Tuesday. A member of the Urban Forestry Council, Dwayne Sperber was present and praised Nass for his work, “Chuck Nass has demonstrated true leadership. It was a very easy nomination to make. He’s leaving quite a legacy,” said Sperber. The council took a short recess while Nass’ family, friends and other meeting attendees enjoyed refreshments in his honor.

When the council reconvened, Irvin L. Young Memorial Library Director Stacey Lunsford provided insight on the library’s current trends. According to the report, 7,894 electronic books were checked out by the 66,771 library users in 2019. Lunsford says users seem to prefer having both digital and hard copies available, “There are still a lot of people who like print books, a lot of people who read magazines. We are seeing a trend of people going more to digital, but they’re using it in addition to print. They just like to have all those options.” Lunsford also remarked that Whitewater’s library is a hub for inter-library loans and is currently loaning more books than they are receiving. Lunsford says this speaks to the quality of the Whitewater library’s collection.

Parks and Recreation Director Eric Boettcher gave the council an update on the Cravath Lakefront Amphitheater project, which began on Monday, February 24. Boettcher said the project is two to three weeks ahead of schedule due to the warmer weather. The project is set to be completed by June 13 of this year. During his presentation, Boettcher also announced that the Frawley family of Whitewater donated $50,000 to the amphitheater project. The Rotary Club of Whitewater will also be contributing to the project as pillar sponsors. “It’s kind of fitting that the Frawley family is tied very closely with the Rotary family, so it’s kind of a really neat facility,” said Boettcher.

Department of Public Works Director Brad Marquardt brought forward a proposal to purchase a new valve turner machine for the Whitewater Water Department. Three bids were presented, and the purchase of a $63,000 valve turner machine was unanimously approved by the council. According to Marquardt, the new valve turner would clear out the debris from the valve stems and would automatically turn the valve to prevent injury to employees and damage to existing valves. Marquardt also noted that an employee had been injured using the current valve turner and noted that a new turner would help prevent any further injuries.

The final item of note was a request by the Whitewater Police Department to apply for the COPS Hiring Program Federal Grant. Police Chief Aaron Rapp and Deputy Chief Dan Meyer shared the department’s need for an additional School Resource Officer (SRO) to serve Whitewater’s public schools. The funding from the grant would go towards the hiring of an additional SRO to provide more support to the Whitewater Police Department. The memo provided to the council noted that Whitewater’s current SRO is responsible for nearly 2,000 students at five schools within the district. The council unanimously approved the proposal to apply for the grant citing the necessity of teaching students how to react in a shelter in place scenario.

The Whitewater Common Council meeting adjourned and moved to closed session to discuss the possible purchase of vacant land to the southeast of Whitewater and the evaluation of City Manager Cameron Clapper.