Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Mercer to update fireworks ordinance

MERCER, Wis. — The town of Mercer Board of Supervisors will revisit the fireworks ordinance in June, following action at its regular meeting Thursday.

The board 5-0 approved a request to create a town fireworks permit and moved discussion of the permitting criteria for sales, possession and use to the June board meeting. The permit would also exempt the local fire department or designated organization for the purpose of a public display fireworks.

Local municipalities may pass ordinances that enhance the state statute governing fireworks use, sales and possession, said town attorney Fritz Schellgell.

The board 5-0 approved a letter of support for the MECCA Ski Club, a nonprofit organization that maintains a 21 kilometers (13 miles) trail system for hiking, snowshoe and cross-country skiing in Mercer. The letter is in support of a land purchase project with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Iron County Forestry.

Mike Shouldice, president of MECCA Ski Club, said the trail system exists through land agreements with the town of Mercer, the Mercer Sanitary District, Iron County Forestry Department, and the WDNR. Another 40 acres of private land available through an easement is now up for sale and the project is underway to purchase the land for the county.

“The land owner put the property up for sale and there is a risk of losing the easement if the new owner is not favorable to the nonprofit trails,” Shouldice said. “That would leave MECCA in a position where there is a risk of having to re-route the trails through wetlands.”

Eric Peterson, county forestry administrator, is applying for a grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund of the WDNR to pay for half of the land acquisition, he said. MECCA will provide two $10,000 grants including one from Gogebic Range Health Foundation to the county and cover $2,000 in closing costs and any extraordinary costs so there is no cost to the county other than the appraisal and the grant application, he said.

“It is our hope that if the county gets the grant from Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund they’ll close the transaction with the land owner and it’ll become part of Iron County Forest,” Shouldice said. 

The board approved a resolution to vacate and discontinue the dedicated township roads of Wilkens Lane, Whites Lane, and Schoonveld Lane that are located within the Iron County Plat area known as Secluded Sanctuary. The action, which followed a public hearing with no comments made, updates the owner’s intention to not parcel out the property that was the intention in the 2008 Plat.

The land in question is an approximately 200-acre area known formerly as the Mary Russel property south of Spider Lake. The action does not create a landlocked situation for any other property owners, according to the board resolution.

The board approved the township buyback purchase of Lot No. 11 in the town business park from Frank Schroeder. The $5,500 sale of the property had been approved at the April meeting but was contingent on the sale to another party who intended to start a business but did not, according to the board discussion.

The board approved a formal letter of recognition request for Todd Engler and Noel Brandt who recently stepped down after serving for several years on the Mercer Park Board. Their terms expired in May and the two were replaced by Tanner Hiller and Matt Schoeneman.

Town supervisor Mike Lambert, who made the request, said Brandt and Engler served the town well and a lot of things were changed and fixed under their watch.

“I would just like to recognize the good job that they did while on the park board,” Lambert said.

Supervisor reports included topics for future agenda items to consider repairs for County Road J; update the town employee manual, improve the insurance policy for firefighters who are injured and suffer a disability, and liquor license fee extensions.

In other business, the board approved:

—Tabling a request to $2,052 purchase of 20 flags and brackets for street posts to the next meeting.

—A $102,627 contract bid for the Pine Forest LRIP (low rate initial production) project to Pitlik & Wick. The road work involves 4,100 feet or approximately 0.77 miles of surface.

—Two contract bids totaling $918,520 for the Mills Point Road and Allyn Road projects to Pitlik & Wick.

—A $35,400 contract bid for aggregate crushing to Antczak Construction, Inc.

—Establishing direct deposit payments for all employees.

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