Sturgeon Bay Talks Green Tier

David Hayes sees a greener future for Sturgeon Bay. 

At the city’s Nov. 19 Common Council meeting, the first-term alderperson brought forward a proposal for the city to enlist itself in the Green Tier program: a voluntary program of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that encourages continual environmental improvement for businesses and municipalities. 

“My goal is for the city to look ahead and become more sustainable and be a leader,” Hayes said. 

If the city joins the program, it would start by selecting sustainable action items for the city to pursue, which could include goals such as increasing energy efficiency through new lighting, placing recycling bins in city parks, composting or using renewable energy sources. 

The program is self-audited based on the action items it sets for itself. The city would fill out a report card every year with action items that it agreed to look at and be judged by how it proceeded on those items. 

Mayor David Ward said it’s a good idea, but the council hesitates to add paperwork without clear benefits in return. 

“The council, to a person, wants to do it, but the question is, what do we get if we join the program?” Ward asked. “We have to do our homework and figure out what makes the most sense for the city.”

Hayes said those benefits come back in several ways, particularly through preferred status in applying for grants through the DNR. He pointed to his time working with the National Parks Service, during which the service was encouraged to consider using permeable pavers for parking lots but was not mandated to do so. By considering the possibility, the service found that grant dollars were available to incorporate the materials and reduce stormwater-runoff problems.

“The majority of these items don’t see big changes year to year, but you’re ready when grants are available,” he said. “It helps to change the way of thinking.”

West School Details

Ward said the development agreement between the city and Northpointe Development for the former west school includes a purchase price of $850,000 for the school and ball field. That would come in the form of a deferred payment due in full in 15 years, with an interest rate of 3.68 percent. 

“We’re not giving away the field,” Ward said. 

The option to purchase is contingent on tax credits for historical repurposing and low-income housing coming through. News on those credits is expected in April. 

Though the funds from the sale are deferred, Ward touted the benefit of getting property back on the tax rolls. 

“All of these housing developments go right on the tax rolls, and that benefits the school district and the county,” he said, pointing not only to the west school but also the Amity Field and Tall Pines Estates apartments. 

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