Notes from the Grove

By John Lowry, Liberty Grove Town Chairman


Welcome to the Notes from the Grove providing information about Liberty Grove town government to residents and visitors.


• The Niagara Escarpment Interpretive Center Committee (GEO-DC) has selected the following as members of the Board of Directors:  Jack Finger (secretary/treasurer), Eric Fowle (director-at-large), Mariah Goode (director-at-large), Nancy Goss (president), Suzie Hass (vice president), Lon Kopitzke (director-at-large), Lou Covotsos (director-at-large). Supervisor Goss will now finalize the Federal 1023 form and the will move along the path to being a 501(c) organization. The bylaws have been drafted as well.


• The Information Technology Committee had an informal budget discussion and will prepare official motions at the next meeting for the finance committee. They discussed a better camera for recording meetings, wireless mics for the board members, finding a few more hot spots in Liberty Grove for WiFi access and properly developing and


• The question has come up again regarding what is a town and what is a township in Wisconsin. Tyler Sivret, 
legislative assistant of the First Assembly District, provided the following information. In Wisconsin, a “town” is what’s commonly known as a “civil township,” which are geographic and political subdivisions of a county. Towns in Wisconsin are identified by name. Such as the Town of Liberty Grove.

“Townships” in Wisconsin are what are commonly known as “survey townships.” These are purely geographic, broken up into a grid pattern, and are identified by number using the public land survey system, which was put into place by the Continental Congress back in 1785. In other words, towns are made up of people, townships are just land.

Sivret spoke with the Legislative Reference Bureau and they said that in the Wisconsin Constitution the governmental units are referred to as towns. So, ever since the beginning of this state, towns have been towns, and not townships.


• There has been some suggestions that perhaps the town should turn Old Stage Road over to the county. Administrator Bud Kalms has done research on what this would entail and the cost. As with the town, the county has set standards that a road must meet before they will accept a road. The road must meet a 15-year life along with other standards. He worked out a scenario where four miles of the 7.08 miles of Old Stage Road would not meet the county standard. He estimated paving costs and preparation to be about $500,000, plus the loss of state road aids which currently is $2,000 per mile.

Since the town must follow a state-mandated budget cap we would need to borrow the money to bring those four miles up to standards. He calculated the interest at 3.5 percent (current number) would be $17,500. In total he estimated it would cost the Town $761,400 to turn the road over. His estimate of four-plus miles not meeting the county standard was based upon visual inspections of Old Stage and his judgment.


• The Parks and Property Committee is recommending discontinuing the experimental trash collection as a lot of home garbage has been showing up in the containers. They also recommended obtaining estimates for needed repairs at the Ellison Bay Marina. This will be used to prepare their budget for next year. Other items being considered are a larger mower for park mowing, epoxy paint for two pit toilets, repaving the parking area at the Ellison Bay post office and money for a steel staircase at Isle View Park.


• The Sand Bay and Europe Bay Beach improvements generated recommendation to the town board to pass ordinances establishing bulkhead lines and applications for county zoning permits for the project.


• Door County Coastal Byways kiosks will be installed on Highway 57 at Koepsel’s Farm Market, Death’s Door Town Park (Porte des Morts) and at the Liberty Grove Historical site.