We are now in the cemetery business
If you recall, last year the Lake View Cemetery Association's membership voted to dissolve. Once their decision became official both the City and the Town of Chetek received a cemetery under our mutual tree last Christmas. According to State ordinance, an “abandoned” cemetery ultimately becomes the responsibility of the municipality in which it is found. Since we both have a stake in it (they own 3/5 of it and we own 2/5) we could have agreed to do nothing. It's only after five years that the State can order a municipality to “adopt” an orphaned graveyard. But there's no way we – or them – would allow that much time to elapse before taking ownership. So like it or lump it now we've got it.
This past spring a joint agreement was written up where essentially we will go “halfsies” with the Town on both the maintenance and the upkeep of Lake View as well as the hiring of a sexton. In this arrangement, the Town will mow the grass and bill us. Meanwhile Town of Chetek Board President Mark Carlson and I interviewed a handful of applicants for the sexton's position and decided to offer Donna Bachowski the job. Donna, who is also the Director of The Center, has both good organizational skills and is great with people. Unlike previous sextons she will not have to deal with any kind of maintenance or mowing schedules. Her sole responsibility will be sales and locating. She has a designated phone for this (715-642-0052). In the future our hope is to digitize the records so that those who call for genealogical purposes can find their information through a link on our website. This season is a bit of a trial run for all of us. Between the two municipalities she will be paid $200/month throughout the year. Come fall we'll reevaluate to see if that is realistic or needs to be altered. But it's for real: we are in the cemetery business.
|Previous sexton Robert Lund and his crew|
did a great job of improving the look of Lake View
The new dock is in!
Last year the council voted unanimously to initiate a boat launch fee ($5/daily and $25/seasonal) for city dock. While the Resort Owners Association expressed their disapproval of this decision for fear it would scare people off the council decided to move forward on it all the same. Municipalities like ours are always looking for more revenue streams as a way to spread the love around. We don't mind if people launch from our dock. We also don't think most people will mind contributing to its upkeep and improvement. In our inaugural season over $3,200 was collected at the unmonitored box at the top of the hill. All of that went to the Parks Department and with additional outlay funds a brand new handicapped-accessible dock was purchased and installed just a week ago.
Carmen tells me that as of last week already $2,300 has been collected this season (and its only mid-June!) This money will be funneled right back to the boat dock for its ongoing upkeep as well as the improvement of the site. We think this modest fee has been successful in helping us provide a quality dock for both residents and visitors to our lakes.
|The new look of Main Street Park|
Improvements to Main Street Park
If I've learned anything while serving as mayor these last three years is that when you change something or move something people get nervous. This past spring Main Street Park underwent some serious renovations. The eagle totem sculpture was removed for safety purposes on account of its deteriorating condition. The flowering crab was removed (all that was left of the original shrubs that were planted there in 2001) and in order to make room for the new stamped concrete that was laid down the rocks with the memorial plaques upon them were moved to the side. Both Jeremy Gesler of Gesler Concrete and the mayor got an earful from a few local citizens who took issue with those rocks being tossed away. Of course, they weren't tossed away – they were just moved to the side until the concrete work was completed. The pavilion (which still needs a new roof) got power-washed and a fresh coat of stain
(courtesy of Scott and Donna
Bachowski and city inspector Joe Atwood) and the rocks were carefully
reinstalled in a new location along Ohde's south wall. A local
citizen who wishes to remain anonymous donated new flower boxes and
standing pots and monies given in memory of Natalie Turner, the
17-year-old C-W HS student who was tragically killed in 2017, helped
us purchase the new sunflower benches.
|Local artist Dylan Martinson|
has been enjoying the courtyard on Saturday mornings
There's more to come just probably not this year. We spent $1,500 to move a power supply that allowed Taste of Chetek to be held on the grounds of the new edition to Main Street Park. We'd like to add things like a privacy fence between the park and the private
residence to the immediate east, a concrete border on either side of
the edition to allow vehicles to access the park if, for example, a
farmer's market were ever to return to the city, as well keep
adequate green space in the middle. One of the big ticket items on
our dream list are public restroom facilities for the park as well.
All of these things, of course, cost money – way more than we have
outlay funds for. So we're always on the look-out for creative
partnerships between the city and local citizens. If you think you
could help with that please let us know.
|Taste of Chetek was held on the grounds|
of the new edition this year
Credit Donna Bachowski for her leadership on the Parks Committee for helping bring about many of these changes. If you've been keeping count this is the third time I've mentioned her name in this article for not only is Donna the director of The Center and the new sexton of Lake View Cemetery but she is also the chairperson of the Parks Committee. We should all be grateful that she works for us and does such a capable job of it.
|Donna with husband, Scott, who also serves|
as the current President of the Chetek Common Council
There's more going on around town but that will have to keep until next time. I don't need to tell you that our summer residents and visitors are back. Even though this is the season of No-Left-Turns-Onto-Second-Street it sure feels good to have the town humming with activity again. It makes me hope it will be a prodigious summer for both those who visit here and for those who live here too.