The Minocqua Town Board gave final approval last week to expanding ATV routes within town borders.
The board had held lengthy discussions on the controversial issue during at least three previous meetings so the second and final reading Tuesday night of the amended ordinance detailed the additional routes and the board’s final vote took just a few minutes.
The new routes will not be open for use until the Lakeland ATV Club completes posting the necessary signs.
The new portions of the route given final approval Tuesday are:
• An extention of about eight miles of Manhardt Road northeast to Camp Nine Road.
• An extension of about three miles on Camp Nine Road east to Cedar Falls Drive.
• An extension of about three miles from Cedar Falls Drive south to Cedar Falls Road.
• An extension of about six miles on Cedar Falls Road southwest to the town of Minocqua from the boundary with the town of Little Rice.
The route approval sunsets each year, meaning the ATV club must seek annual approval. That gives the town the option of not re-opening the routes if there are problems or concerns.
The ATV club must work with the town on deciding on what type of signs will be posted and where they will be placed.
At an earlier town meeting the ATV club agreed to help Minocqua Winter Park officials in putting up gates at Lake Marie and Manhardt Road so ATVs would not be driven over some of the park’s cross country ski trails.
The club also agreed to work with Winter Park officials in displaying signs near the nature conservancy area that will inform riders of the sensitive area (Winter Park Pines Conservancy Area) being located there and instructing them to stay on the trail.
In a final vote, supervisors John Thompson and Sue Heil, in addition to town chairman Mark Hartzheim, voted in favor of the additional ATV routes. Supervisor Bryan Jennings was the lone no vote. Supervisor Billy Fried was absent from Tuesday’s meeting but had previously voted in favor of the proposal.
Minocqua Park complex parking
During Tuesday’s meeting some town supervisors expressed disappointment over the recent handling of a parking issue at the Minocqua Park complex on State Highway 70 West in which Minocqua police issued 17 citations for illegal parking while a circus was performing at the town park.
Minocqua Police Chief Andy Gee had recently posted no parking signs on one side of the road at the complex, without the town board’s knowledge and without the public being notified of the change.
Some attending the circus performance, however, still parked in the no parking area despite the signs. They were issued citations.
Thompson said people had been parking in the same area for the entire baseball season with no citations being issued. He said the issuing of the citations was a bad public relations move.
“For about two-and-a-half months now people have been parking in that same area at the park when there were no ‘no parking’ signs posted,” Thompson said. “We should rip up the tickets and refund any money that people have paid. We should have given warning tickets in this instance first.”
Heil agreed with Thompson.
Gee said he had instructed the signs be posted after he was alerted to a problem when parking is allowed on both sides of the road.
“When that happens there just is not enough room to get an ambulance through,” Gee said.
Hartzheim and the supervisors all agreed the park is still new and problems are bound to come up that were not anticipated when the park was constructed.
“The park is still a work in progress,” Hartzheim said. “We’ll send this back to the Parks Committee and they can figure out what to do about this and work out a better way of parking out there.”
Gee also agreed to dismiss all the tickets that were issued during the circus performance.
“We need to go a little lightly on this issue until we figure out what to do,” Thompson told the chief.
Police monthly report
During his regular monthly report to the town board, Gee announced his department was recently awarded a Wisconsin Department of Justice grant for $2,400. The funds will be used to purchase two new Tasers. Gee said the grant came at an opportune time because one of the department’s old Tasers recently failed and can no longer be repaired.
Gee also announced that new part-time dispatcher Nila Foley is nearing the end of her training and will be working solo soon. Gee added that new patrol officer Dave Geiss is in the fourth and final phase of his department training and will be on regular duty soon.
“We’re also looking internally for applicants to fill the police/school liaison officer position,” Gee said.
Joe VanDeLaarschot may be reached at email@example.com.