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April 22, 2018

4/13/2018 7:29:00 AM
Letter to DNR

To the Editor:

Dear (Department of Natural Resources) Secretary (Daniel) Meyer,

I'd like to supplement my March 21 letter to you, and to formally ask for a contested case hearing in the decision to issue a bridge permit, Number IP-NO-2017-64-04529. The permit does not adequately address Wisconsin Statute 30.123(8)(c)3.

The permit was issued for a location that was not taken to public hearing. The public should be heard regarding this altered location (file number 6 of the permit application, original plans and profile). Nor could the public weigh in on the structural elements and engineering of the new location.

The tacit approval by the Town of Manitowish Waters, as stated on its website, was that the bridge would not be seen from Highway 51. (attached [with original letter] white paper downloaded from the town website. Also attached is a March 26, 2018 download from the website ... which seems to have been taken off the website). Before the bridge is constructed, town residents and property taxpayers should have an opportunity to weigh in on the stated position of town government. It is inappropriate for the state to consider a town position if the town government's representation to the public did not truthfully reflect the ultimate location of the bridge.

It was represented that a bike bridge could not be included in the current or upgraded Highway 51 bridge because the bike bridge location would be too far from the highway bridge location. Now, the permitted location is within a few hundred yards of the Highway 51 bridge. Incorporating a bike lane with an improved Highway 51 bridge should be reconsidered as a viable option.

Obliterating the scenic view from Highway 51 is detrimental to the broader public interest ... beyond the biking public. Various photos of that view-shed, in all seasons of the year, have appeared for decades in local newspapers. In the past, postcards were created using that exact view to promote the natural beauty of Manitowish Waters.

The wayside next to the Highway 51 bridge is a pull-off point for many tourists and travelers to enjoy an unimpeded view of the rapids and the natural loveliness of one of Wisconsin's most beautiful rivers. These tourists and travelers should have an opportunity to weigh in on the location and appropriateness of this location of the bridge. This group of the public was unaware of a proposal to destroy the view was a possibility.

The construction of the proposed bridge in the new location should not go forward until the public issues are addressed, and I request a stay under 30.309(1m)c. A stay is necessary to avoid destruction of approaching paths to the specified location. If destroyed, it will not be to be possible to put the approaches to the bridge back in a natural state.

I will be available and eager to appear before a contested case hearing.

Sharon Cook


Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018
Article comment by: James Patterson

I totally agree with what Ms. Cook has to say. The public should certainly have a say in this matter.Once again money talks and you know the rest. Shame on our town board for even allowing this to go on as long as it has!

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