October 6, 2009
City Council approves Seventh St. roundabout, workout pay for firefighters
Downtown Racine is set to get its first roundabout in 2011.
The City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a roundabout in front of City Hall as part of a plan to rebuild Seventh Street. The plan calls for a significant overhaul of the awkward "V" intersection where Sixth and Seventh streets intersect.
Paul P. Harris Plaza, the small park at the intersection with the clock, named after the founder of Rotary International who was born here, will increase in size with the roundabout. The greenspace in front of City Hall will shrink.
While work won't begin until 2011, city officials had to make a decision about the intersection now to give state planners time to prepare the project.
The state is involved with the Seventh Street because it's technically state Highway 20. This is a good thing for the city because federal money will cover 80 percent of the project's cost. The city will pick up the rest.
State and city officials will make some decisions on the project in coming months, and WisDOT will prepare it for bid in December 2010. Work is scheduled to begin in Spring 2011.
The project is estimated to cost $5 million.
Firefighters' workout bonus
Racine firefighters will get an extra $6.50 per hour for working out under a contract approved by the City Council Tuesday night.
The council passed the agreement after a debate led by Alderman Sandy Weidner, who opposed the provision.
The extra pay is limited to 100 hours per year per firefighter. The hope is the contract provision will encourage firefighters to get in better shape.
The Raytown Roadhouse, a country-western-themed bar on Sixth Street, got its liquor license Tuesday night. The City Council approved the Class "B" license with no discussion.
Owners Pete Karas and Jim Spodick got some additional good news Tuesday night. The council rejected two liquor licenses, which freed up a non-reserve license for the Raytown Roadhouse.
State law limits how many liquor licenses a city can issue. Once the city hits its quota, it can issue additional "reserve" licenses for $10,000 a piece. Karas and Spodick had to pay the $10,000 for their license, but will now be refunded $9,500 because the city fell under its state quota.
The Raytown Roadhouse is planning a grand opening for Saturday, Oct. 17.
A proposed Halloween Party that would have shut down the 500 block of Main Street on Oct. 31 failed to win approval from the City Council. John
The Racine Police Department may soon own an armored car. Police Chief Kurt Wahlen is seeking permission to accept a 1999 Ford E-350 armored car from Garda Cash Logistics. Wahlen's request will be taken up by the Public Safety and License Committee.