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City to unveil new entrance, reopen breakwater at Friday ceremony PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 20:12


    Port Washington Mayor Tom Mlada said Tuesday that one of the most anticipated events of the year will occur at noon Friday — the reopening of the city’s north breakwater.
    “In my five years as mayor, I’ve not seen the level of excitement I have with this,” Mlada told aldermen Tuesday.
    The breakwater has been closed for months as crews worked to improve the gateway, removing the metal catwalk and replacing it with a wide concrete walkway that’s handicapped accessible.
    “This is going to be a major improvement in public access,” Mlada said.
    He told aldermen that one family with a special needs child called him to tell him they’re going to be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.
    “They’re very excited to get th eir child out on the breakwater for the first time ever,” Mlada said.
    State and federal officials are expected to be on hand for the ribbon-cutting, he said, as well as representatives of the other groups that have helped fund improvements to the structure.
    Noting that gulls have left their mark on the breakwater, Mlada said city crews will wash the walkway before the ceremony.
    Once people are walking on the structure on a regular basis, officials hope the birds will abandon their perch there.
    Mlada noted that the city’s commitment to improving the breakwater won’t end with Friday’s ceremony.
    Armor stone will be placed on the lake side of the south breakwater this fall, he said, and work on a biofiltration landscape system and wetland project at the entry to the north breakwater will continue for the coming weeks.
    “It does continue to be a construction area,” Mlada said.
    Officials also continue to seek grant funding to improve the far eastern end of the north breakwater, work that would enhance the lighthouse the city is in the process of acquiring.

 
Marina-area apartment plan clears first hurdle PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 20:08

Panel members say development will bring residents to waterfront but express some building height concerns

    A conceptual plan for Ansay Development’s proposed Pier Street Apartments on the former Victor’s restaurant site in Port Washington’s marina district was approved last week by the Plan Commission.
    The proposed apartments would blend with the adjoining townhouses planned by architect Stephen Perry Smith, Mayor Tom Mlada said, and would provide a variety of housing near the city’s waterfront.
    “I can see there being an awful lot of interest ... the outdoor living, the views,” he said. “All of this really encourages a completely different sense of energy (in the area).
    “As a community, we have to be excited about what this means for an area that hasn’t had a lot of life.”
    That comment was echoed by commission member Amanda Williams, an architect.
    “I am really excited about seeing more life in this area,” she said.
    Ansay’s plan calls for eight townhouse-style apartments to be built on the property, each with a two-car garage and a rooftop deck.
    The three-story units, which would be housed in two structures that would face Washington and Pier streets with garage access off Harborview Lane, are significantly different from Ansay’s original proposal for the site.
    “This is a vastly different project” than one the firm originally proposed last year, Ian McCain of Ansay Development told the commission. “It’s one we feel is more appropriate to the site.”
    Last year, the firm proposed using both the Victor’s property and the adjoining city-owned car-trailer parking lot for a 44-unit apartment building. The firm later called for 14 row houses to be built there, with the apartments to be constructed a block to the north.
    The city later agreed to sell the car-trailer lot to Smith, sending Ansay back to the drawing board.
    McCain said the current proposal is for  buildings that are similar in mass and height to Smith’s townhouses.
    But, he said, the staircases to the rooftop decks would cause the buildings to exceed the city’s 35-foot height limit by about 6-1/2 feet.
    “We believe that is a critical component,” McCain said. “We are approximating what you’re asking for.”
    To minimize the impact, McCain said, these access points are set back from the edge of the building.
    Commission member Brenda Fritsch, an architect, said this may be an acceptable trade-off.
    “An outdoor area is really nice to have,” she said. “It makes the property more desirable. We have to be sensitive to that.”
    But Williams said she does not want to see the project exceed the height limit.
    “I’m sensitive, especially in this part of the marina district, to stick to the height limit,” she said.
    The city is working to create the look of a quaint fishing village, Williams said, and “anything that steps outside of that is detrimental.”
    Two different proposals for the building were presented by McCain, one with a sloping roof and the other with a flat roof.
    Commission members were unanimous in their opinion the flat-roof building was the preferred one.
    Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven, a commission member, asked if Ansay had considered installing a green roof on those portions of the roof not used for the deck.
    McCain said the firm is considering that, noting it could offer tenants a place to garden.
    McCain also asked what the future of Harborview Lane is, noting the city had approved a plan years ago that would close the street — which is the access to the apartment parking lot — and create a pedestrian walkway there.
    “We think circulation is critical to this part of the neighborhood,” he said.
    There are ways to accommodate increased pedestrian traffic on the road, McCain said, including a managed alley system, angle parking and an enhanced pedestrian walkway and a green alley plan.
    Williams said times have changed since the plan to close Harborview Lane was approved by the city.
    “None of these (marina district) developments were happening when we did that,” she said. “It made sense at the time.”
    Now, with increased development in the area, it may make more sense to rethink that plan, Williams said.
    The city’s Board of Public Works and Traffic Safety Committee will look at the Harborview Lane issue and make a recommendation to the Common Council, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

 
Ready to rub the shoulders of golf greats at U.S. Open PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 19:10

Port massage therapist part of team that will tend to U.S. Open competitors


    Katherine “Kitchie” Allen is preparing to rub elbows with golfing royalty, such as Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson  and Wisconsin’s own Steve Stricker and their entourages.
    That’s because the Port Washington massage therapist has been selected to be part of the wellness team for the U.S. Open, which is being played at Erin Hills in Washington County through Sunday.
ALLEN, KATHERINE KITCHIE 4C    “I feel really honored to be part of this,” Allen said. “This is a really special thing. It’s exciting.”
    She blocked off this entire week in her schedule, but she said she hasn’t told too many people about her selection.
    “The people I have told are really excited for me,” Allen said.
    Allen said she’s been out to the course already to familiarize herself with the areas where she’ll be working and attended a training session for the 119-member wellness team in early May.
    That team includes 30 chiropractors, 10 physical therapists, 10 athletic trainers, five hyperbaric technicians, 40 massage therapists and a number of assistants and other volunteers, said Jeff Poplarski, chairman of the U.S. Open Golf Championship Wellness Team.
    “We’re going to see thousands of people during the tournament,” Poplarski said. “I told my team, ‘This is a Green Bay Packers game for seven-days straight.’”
    An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people daily will visit the course, he said.
    Poplarski said he began recruiting for his wellness team last November and had the group picked by Jan. 1.
    He cold-called Allen after seeing her online resume, he said.    
    “Her resume is pretty impressive,” he said.
    Allen, who owns and operates Hands With a Healing Touch in downtown Port, said she was “dumbfounded” to get Poplarski’s call.
    After a phone interview and background check, she found out she was on the team.
    “I consider it a tremendous honor,” Allen said.
    This isn’t Allen’s first experience dealing with a sports team. She worked for several years with another professional sports team, although she wouldn’t say which one because she signed a nondisclosure agreement.
    “It was a blast,” she said of that experience. “It was another great opportunity.”
    That experience helped tip the scales in her favor when picking the wellness team, Poplarski said.
    “This is a very high-profile event, and I need to make sure I’m getting very qualified professionals on my team,” he said.
    Allen said she is looking forward to her time at Erin Hills. She’s a golfer who enjoys watching the big tournaments.
    “I’m always watching Augusta and the other big events,” she said.
    And as a member of the wellness team, she receives a pass to attend the Open every day of the tournament, not just the days she’s working.
    Allen will work two five-hour shifts — one in the volunteer tent on Thursday, June 15, where she will give chair massages to volunteers, and the other in the treatment trailer on Friday, June 16, where players, caddies and their support staff seek aid.
    Poplarski said 50 to 70 golfers and their staff go through the treatment trailer each day, spending about 90 minutes with the various professionals there.
    “These are the greatest players in the world,” he said. But their caddies are “some of our best clients,” Poplarski noted. “These caddies are walking at least five miles, if not more each day, carrying a 60-pound bag.”
    But it’s not the chance to work on the biggest names in golf that prompted her to say yes to this opportunity, Allen said. It’s the chance to network with others in her profession that attracted her.
    Allen has been a massage therapist since 2003, after taking classes at Blue Sky School of Professional Massage and Therapeutic Bodywork in Grafton.
    She began working from home, then later established her studio in downtown Port. She was also a teaching assistant at Blue Sky from 2012 through 2015, and often takes her table to places like the Harbor Campus senior living facility in Port.
    It’s a second career for Allen, who previously worked at Port Washington State Bank for 43 years, retiring in 2011.
    “I really love it,” she said. “It’s a wonderful, fulfilling profession to help someone in pain.”

 
Bike racing excitement is heading to the harbor PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 19:08

Daily PressTwo major bike rides will take place in Port Washington during the coming week.
    Former Green Bay Packer William Henderson will bring his Henderson’s Ride for Hope to Port Washington Friday through Sunday, June 16 to 18, while the second annual Race the Harbor will speed along the city’s southeast side on Wednesday, June 21.
    Henderson’s Ride for Hope, which will raise money for a number of charities, including Generations  Against Bullying, will include past and present Packers players, including running back Dorsey Levens, fullback John Kuhn and running back Tony Fisher.
    The event kicks off with a “Star Studded Dinner” co-hosted by Henderson and Levens at the Country Inn & Suites in Port Washington on Friday night.
    The ride has a seven-mile kids’ route, 25-mile course for casual riders and 60-mile route for enthusiasts, and it begins at Coal Dock Park at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Following the ride, there will be a party at the park. Music, a children’s area, beer garden, an autograph area and food court will be part of the event.
    Tickets to the party are available at ZuZu Pedals and the Parks and Recreation office, both in Port Washington, and Family Sharing in Grafton.
    The Sprecher Brewery beer garden will be in Coal Dock Park throughout the event, from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, throughout the day Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
    For more information, visit www.hendersonsrideforhope.com.
    Hundreds of professional and amateur bicyclists will take part in the Race the Harbor as the Tour of America’s Dairyland series comes to town June 21.  
    The race will feature men’s and women’s professional and amateur racers, as well as junior boys and girls races beginning at 10 a.m. and running to 8 p.m.
    A kids’ bike race will be held from 6 to 7 p.m., with prizes that include a new bike and Brewers tickets.
    Circuit riders will be awarded points for their finishes in the races, to be combined with those earned in other races in the series.
    The bicyclists also compete for thousands of dollars in prizes as they race each circuit.
    Spectators typically gather around the start and finish lines — the corner of Chestnut and Wisconsin streets in Port, where bleachers will be set up.
    The route follows South Wisconsin Street to Western Avenue, west to Division Street to Chestnut Street, where it turns east to Wisconsin Street.
    There will be a vendors area, including a beer garden off Chestnut Street, and local shops will feature specials.
    Family activities and live music will be part of the event.
    For more information on the cycling races, visit www.tourofamericasdairyland.com.


kris--bike races

 
Rate surprise shaves year off borrowing plan PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 19:05

PW-S School District sells bonds at ‘amazing’ 2.97% interest rate to help finance school improvements

 

    Shortly after Port Washington-Saukville School District voters approved a $49.4 million referendum in April 2015, school officials worked quickly to borrow the majority of that money at an interest rate of 3.2%, believing that interest rates would not get any lower.
    They were happy this week to be wrong.
    On Monday, the district paved the way for the second round of referendum borrowing by selling $8.65 million of municipal bonds at 2.97%, an interest rate that will have a significant impact on its referendum debt payment schedule.
   Daily Press “That’s pretty darn amazing,” Jim Froemming, the district’s director of business services, told the School Board, which approved the sale.
    Brian Brewer, a managing director for Baird who is advising the district, agreed that an interest rate below 3% was remarkable.
    “This is very good news for the district,” he said.
    Erring on the side of caution in 2015, Brewer initially projected an interest rate of 4.75% for the second phase of borrowing. He revised that estimate in May, calling for a rate of 3.6%.
    The rate of 2.97% means the district will pay about $8 million less in interest than initially anticipated over the duration of the total referendum debt and will shorten the repayment schedule by a year — from 25 to 24 years, Froemming said.
    The district received six bids for the bonds with interest rates that ranged from 3.38% to 2.97%, which was offered by Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.
    That there were six competitive bids, Brewer said, is credit to the district’s AA Standard and Poor’s bond rating.
    Timing was also a factor in securing the low interest rate, Froemming noted.
    “According to the economic news today, we could see a rate increase as early as Wednesday of this week,” he said Tuesday. “Who knows, we may have hit the low.”
    Because the term of any single bond issue cannot exceed 20 years, the district is borrowing the $49.4 million approved by voters in three separate bond issues, which allows it to finance the total referendum debt over 24 years to reduce the annual impact on taxpayers.
    In addition to the $33 million borrowed in 2015 and the $8.65 million approved by the board his week, the district plans to sell $7.75 million in bonds early next year.
    Of the $49.4 million being borrowed, $3.8 million paid for an addition to Dunwiddie Elementary School completed in December and $45.6 million is being spent on the ongoing renovation and reconstruction of Port Washington High School.

 
Refinancing windfall to pay for key projects PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 18:38

Nearly $600,000 in interest savings enough to fund purchase of senior center, south breakwater work


    The City of Port Washington will save almost $600,000 — enough to pay for the purchase of the senior center and the placement of armor stone around the south breakwater — thanks to a refinancing approved Tuesday by the Common Council.
    Aldermen authorized the sale of $5.4 million in general obligation notes for the refinancing at a 1.96% interest rate, which over the life of the bonding will save the city $599,000.
    Daily PressThe interest rate is much lower than the 2.25% expected when the council agreed to the refinancing in April, financial consultant Carol Wirth of Wisconsin Public Finance Professionals said.
    The reduced interest rate alone will bring the city $87,000 in additional savings over the life of the bonds, she said.
    The original bond issue in 2006 had an interest rate of 4% to 4.2%, Wirth noted, adding the city has $4.9 million outstanding from that bonding.
    Wirth also noted that Moody’s Investor Service reaffirmed the city’s Aa3 bond rating.
    “This is wonderful news,” Ald. Dave Larson said of the refinancing and the associated savings. “Coming up with $87,000 extra is huge. This is a big win for us.”
    That’s because the savings will pay for the senior center building, which the city purchased for $415,000 earlier this year through a short-term loan from the wastewater utility’s surplus fund.
    That loan will be repaid using the bond proceeds.
    The savings will also cover the $250,000 aldermen recently agreed to pay to have armor stone placed along the lake side of the south breakwater this fall.
    The Army Corps of Engineers recently told the city there is virtually no armor stone left along the south breakwater. Replacing it, the corps said, is critical because the structure provides critical protection for the marina and west slip.
    The city has applied for a $100,000 grant that could offset the cost of the armor stone, but officials won’t know until August if it will receive these funds.
    In addition, Wirth said, the bonding will provide $2,600 to be placed in the debt service budget.
    Although Tuesday’s action by the council locks in the interest rates and associated tax levy over the life of the refinancing, the  loan won’t close until June 27.
    The new bonds will be repaid in 2026.

 
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