A large crowd gathered for the January meeting of the Amery Community Club, where the guest speaker was Mayor Paul Isakson. Isakson presented a “State of the City” address, giving updates on matters within Amery.
Isakson brought out his “To-Do” list from the previous year to relay the accomplishments that have been made over the past 12 months. The first item on his list was TIFF extensions. “We extend TIFF number five for one year to collect $180,000 in additional TIFF money,” he said.
He said during January 2019 the city conducted a survey for a Block Grant. The results showed Amery to be 53.1 percent LMI (low to moderate income). “That being said, we applied for a one million dollar grant and received a one million dollar grant. Starting next April we will be tearing up Main Street for eight blocks for new sidewalk, new water, new sewer. It will be a mess but we’ll get through this,” said Isakson.
He said currently they are in the midst of updating the entire city website. Isakson relayed the updated site will look more modern.
He next spoke about the Polk County Housing Survey. “We entered into an agreement with the Polk County EDC to help finance a housing survey. The preliminary figures came out in November and a final graph will be ready the end of February, but I can tell you now it says we need housing all over Polk County,” he said.
An update was given on the Bicycle/Pedestrian plan. Bids will go out in March to put in the 5K Loop, a two-mile walk around town. They are seeking funding for this.
Six years a piece of property was purchased for an Industrial Park. Isakson said, “It sat at Army Corp. of Engineers for 18 months for determination of who owns the wetlands on the road to the park. Army Corp. said, ‘It’s not us.’ So we are moving forward on the road into the Industrial Park. The City Council has budgeted around $60,000 to make it shovel ready. All permits will be in place and everything is ready to go. We get a taker for a ten-acre development out there and go. We can have it up and ready in six months.
Design Amery planning began and will be moving forward. It will be in Amery April 2-4. This gives people the opportunity to voice how they would like Amery’s future to look. “If you show up, you can have a say,” said Isakson.
Other developments over the past year include negotiations with the police department to settle on a three-year contract, property removal from the corner of Deronda Street and Keller Avenue (the property it sat on is currently owned by Polk County) and acquisition of property located at Baker Street and Harriman Avenue is continuing to move forward.
Moving forward in 2020, the mayor said letters would be sent out to business owners about updated back entrances before sidewalks are torn up, codes will be brought up to date online, review of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, employee evaluations and job descriptions will be updated to offer performance wage increases, Safe Routes to School planning will continue, updating of the Capital Improvement Plan, update of the Parks and Recreation Plan, improvement and lighting of Amery City Signs as well as the church signs.
January 22, updates will be given by Polk County pertaining to the Stower Trail.
Isakson said an inquiry has been made about constructing an 8-10 apartment unit building across from the Amery Ice Arena. He also said he met with a Twin Home developer who would like to construct 20 plus single level Twin Homes for ages 55+ on 13 acres in the City of Amery. He also received a call about hotel development in Amery.
A branding and marketing committee has been working on a video about Amery. People will have the capability to add short clips to the video.
He said they will be asking for input from everyone involved on the relocation of the city offices, library and police department.
When a question arose about the condition of city streets, the mayor responded, “We spent three times as much as the year before on all the side streets here in Amery. We had spray packing come in and do all of downtown side streets. I call Polk County, who is responsible for Highway 46, every week and leave a message. The county is responsible for Main Street. They got behind because the State of Wisconsin came in October and said they were delaying their project for one year, so the County was in a little too deep. They came in right before it froze and put hot patch and if you noticed in the last thawing cycle, all of the patches are gone. The side streets are fixed up pretty nice.”