The future of Spring Splash in the city of Whitewater is currently up in the air with Wisconsin Red now pulling out their sponsorship of the event. Last year the event brought in many young adults from the outside communities and the large scale parties led to many concerns for Whitewater residents. The main issues were about Wisconsin Red’s involvement and the concept of the entire event as a whole.
“To me this is a larger issue though, it’s not necessarily about Wisconsin Red, it’s about having a police department and the city as a whole and the university be prepared for any kind of event,” Patrick Singer the president of the common council brought up during the discussion.
Even though Wisconsin Red may or may not have caused the issues of last year during Spring Splash, it is almost a guarantee that students will continue to host parties in any given weekend in April to celebrate the warming weather.
“We need to stop and control to some small degree the madness, so that we can collaborate on a successful event that every single person on this city council has talked about, that is a desire for people to have a college experience, not a mob mentality experience,” Chief Lisa Otterbacher of the Whitewater Police Department stated.
The Whitewater City Police Department has been in contact with many area city police departments as well as county sheriff’s departments to help make this year a much safer Saturday in April. Even though there are some plans in place to make this year a much better environment for the community, the city of Whitewater may be behind in scheduling.
“This meeting tonight in February should have been held in May of last year, so you are a little late,” Larry Kachel mentions to the council during Tuesday’s meeting. Kachel works for the Parks and Recreation Department and still has may questions about the fluidity of the event and staffing to keep the event under control in the city.
Tony Hanson, a community member has another idea about how to solve last year’s problems, “I think we need to get more of the community itself on board and active in Spring Splash itself, instead of getting everyone in town to hate it.”
The issues regarding Spring Splash are full of controversy and at the meeting on Feb. 7, no immediate actions will follow. There will continue to be further discussions about how to best portray and handle the spring student party in the city of Whitewater.
Also discussed at the common council meeting on Tuesday was the retirement of Boomer, the K-9 for the Whitewater Police Department. The handler for the dog, Joseph Matteson, has recently decided that he will be leaving the city to serve another community.
Matteson has indicated that he would like to purchase Boomer to take with him as a pet for his family since chances are the dog would not transition well to another handler. The cost to replace Boomer will be $3,500, the cost of training for a new dog, so the community can keep their K-9 unit the fundraisers worked so hard for.
The search is underway for a new dog and a new handler that can now be trained together to continue the successful K-9 program in the city of Whitewater.
The last key points brought to the meeting were the announcement of a new communications manager, Kristen Mickelson. She is a graduate of UW-Whitewater and excited to be back to give back to the community she once lived in.
There have been several accidents at the intersection of North and Cherry streets and there is discussion of placing speedbumps along the east side of the hill to slow people down. Property owners will be notified and the discussion will continue at the next council meeting.