The proposed new community center and library that was planned for a piece of property on Hwy. 42 in the Village of Egg Harbor took a new direction when it was announced at the village meeting on Oct. 12 that donors are willing to contribute if the project is moved to the city-owned space across from the Peg Egan Performing Arts Center.
“It’s a bigger lot. We think it would be a better flow in the community,” said Judy Ortiz, a member of what has been known as the Cowles Community Campaign Team. However, it was learned that the Cowles naming right applied to building on the property on Hwy. 42, and the Cowles family is aware of the new direction for the proposed $2.5 million community center and library.
Asked by Village President Joe Smith why the inner village lot is more advantageous than the lot on the main drag, Ortiz said the lot across from the Peg Egan Center is bigger and fits better into the walking area envisioned for Egg Harbor. She added that it would be designed to provide even more parking than is available now in the empty lot.
Trustee Bob Dickson said the move would be a great opportunity for co-use with the Peg Egan Center.
“It would make it a better venue for weddings because now you’d have a spot for a reception, a green room for Peg Egan, and possibly, depending on the design, even the rain location for Peg Egan,” Dickson said. “It’s a more dynamic spot for the village.”
He added that there is even the possibility of a water view for the library.
“I think it would be wonderful to sit and read a book and see the water. I think it would be a great opportunity,” he said.
Don Kress, a member of the audience who said he and his wife Carol are the newest residents of the village, said everything in the village seems to be packed along the Hwy. 42 corridor in a linear fashion, so it would be wise to consider the alternate location. The Kresses both serve on the library committee of the ad hoc community center group.
“It’s so tranquil and peaceful. It will get a tremendous amount of use,” Kress said of the alternate location. “It’s a quiet, lovely spot. That’s why the library committee is 100 percent in favor of changing the location.”
“If tonight we vote yes, do you anticipate that being the catalyst for having the funds in line nearly immediately, or will this get you a good chunk of the way there?” Smith asked Ortiz, who answered that if approved, the committee will use money it already has to go forward with design, which will be the catalyst for more donations.
“I have some commitments from people to put in additional funding. It’s the Kress Foundation, not me,” said Don Kress. “Once they have something I can show them, then they’re more likely to do it. I’m going to throw in another $250,000, too. I’ve already got $250,000 in, so that will be $500,000.”
The trustees voted unanimously to charge the ad hoc committee with investigating the potential for the proposal.
In other matters:
- Paula Cashin was named to fill the trustee seat recently vacated by TC Johnson and Cambria Mueller will assume the trustee seat vacated by Bruce Hill.
- Discussion was held on the Wisconsin Public Service cost estimate of $1.65 million to bury overhead lines on Hwy. 42 as part of the village’s downtown redesign. Village President Smith said the village business community is overwhelmingly in favor of burying the lines, but since the WPS proposal does not include cable and other utility lines, the trustees determined they needed more information before acting on the proposal.
- After a walking tour of the village, the trustees determined that in the downtown redesign, the proposed 10-foot shared use path should be located on the east side of Hwy. 42.
- The trustees decided the Public Art Committee, which was responsible for the wildly successful Eggstravaganza in 2014, would have more freedom to act and plan events if it were under the wing of the Egg Harbor Business Association (EHBA) rather than village government.
- Jeff Larson, president of the EHBA, announced a new event for 2016. Winefest is scheduled for June 25. The EHBA also puts on Alefest in September, and Larson mentioned that the 4th Alefest was just held, and it was the second year in a row that the event was profitable. He said the group is receiving $1,000 from each of the eight members of the Door County Wine Trail for Winefest, and sought $10,000 from the village to get the event started. He said the group will also apply for a Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the state to get the festival rolling.