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Council discusses full agenda at November meeting

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The Gettysburg City Council had a full agenda for the meeting at the fire hall on Nov. 5.
Off-Sale transfer
The main topic was the proposed transfer of an off-sale liquor license from the Firehouse to Vilas Superstore in Gettysburg. Jim Stephens, proprietor of the Vilas store, made a presentation to the city council prior to the transfer request.
He talked about some of the changes in the community that prompted him to expand the drugstore into the building beside it in Gettysburg’s downtown, and also about the importance of shopping locally. He told the council that a member of his staff told him that she knew of a group of people who drive out of town to purchase liquor. Since it was believed that there are several people who do this, he decided to sell beer and wine at the Vilas Superstore to keep some of that business in town, especially since the Firehouse had been purchased and plans were in the works to open a liquor store.
Stephens went on to say that Gettysburg had been good to him by supporting the business at the Vilas Pharmacy, so he invested about $250,000 between remodeling the adjacent building and filling it with inventory to expand in the community’s downtown. He said doing this created seven new jobs, kept a teacher, remodeled an old building, and collected sales tax for the city in excess of a million dollars which translates to about $20,000 that Gettysburg has which otherwise would likely have gone to other communities.
He urged the council when making the decision to transfer the off-sale liquor license to consider who is an experienced retailer, who will give the liquor department the right amount of footage for display, who has the right amount of traffic such as the 150 to 200 people daily who walk through the door of his store, who would situate it so children do not need to walk by it, and who can be up and running the fastest.
He told the council that, if granted the license, Vilas Superstore will extend hours to 8 p.m. for the entire store, and the liquor store could be up an running before the Thanksgiving holiday.
A special meeting was held on Nov. 9 for the transfer of the liquor license.
Ice Skating rink
Discussion turned to the location of the community ice skating rink. Larry Madsen approached the council to discuss the possibility of locating the ice rink at the county fairgrounds under the livestock show ring. He thought that the ice might remain more stable under the shade, where there could also potentially be light for evening skating and a shed for warming.
Several concerns were brought up, from liability to keeping the pathway cleared of snow. Before further discussion, the council asked Madsen to talk to the county commissioners to find out if using the fairgrounds was an option.
Economic Development
Gayle Kludt, Executive Director of the local development corporation, gave her monthly report to the council. There was discussion regarding a retreat that was held which included both members of the development corporation board and the city council. All who attended agreed that it gave the group some direction and some solid ideas for the betterment of the community and county. It was agreed that a housing study is needed in the area and the city authorized Gettysburg Whitlock Bay Development Corporation to move forward and pursue a housing study.
Police Report
Chief of Police Bill Wainman gave his report. He said he was contacted by the school to present the DARE program for the fifth grade, which is a drug awareness and resistance curriculum presented in past years to elementary students. He had talked to Gayle Kludt, who is a certified DARE instructor, and she has agreed to teach the class.
The council also discussed safety methods for young people on bicycles and scooters and driving on sidewalks versus the street. Chief Wainman was concerned about the kids riding on sidewalks and hitting people as they come out of stores. He will address this in his Cops Corner column in the News and also as part of a safety program through the school.
Other discussion
Upon further discussion, the council agreed that the city will put up an ice skating rink and if it works with the county, there could be two.
A request was made for a snow fence to be put up behind Dakota Street, which is the new development on the southwest side of town. Council wondered if planting trees would be more effective in the long run than a temporary snow fence. There will be further discussion.
The band shelter is progressing and nearly all of the pledges have been paid, which will come close to covering the project cost.
Building permits must now be published showing what the project is and where it is located.
The auditorium is being updated with safety measures such as sprinkler system, fire alarm, etc. The mats in the basement will need to be rolled up after practice to they aren’t damaged by others using the facility.
Lease contracts for the hangers at the airport may be extended from five years to 10 years. There was also discussion about the lease of hay ground.
After more than two hours, the council adjourned.
–Molly McRoberts

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