Wautoma’s residents support pond refill project

As an 80 year old Wautoma resident, having resided on Elm Street or on “The Pond” for 75 years, I am elated to see the pride shown by our citizenry in the straw poll on April 5. A vote of 424 to 145 in favor of refilling the pond is more than an indication by citizens to refill and complete the pond project.

A vote resulting in a 75 to 25 percent ratio in favor of the approved (state/local) project is a resounding statement to city hall.

We expect our duly elected officials to comply with Wautoma’s residents, the city commissioned millpond task force, and the original endowment plan.

Utilizing the municipal wetland to revitalize Wau-toma’s down-town pedestrian traffic is a plan emanating from the University of Wisconsin Extension and has been enacted by practically every village/city in the state. 

The pond vision is one-third of a historic wetland boardwalk connecting the Mill Pond Park, the Wetlands Park, the Woman’s Club Park and Marie Street’s Historic entities (museum, Kileen House, court house, monuments, old hotel site, livery stable, old post office, etc. Never have I seen a committee work as long and hard as the Mill Pond Task Force and I have been on 18 city promotions and committees in my retirement.

The city owns all the land necessary and the project has already encumbered 90 percent of the total costs through civic contributions in estates and corporate donations, as well as state, county and school grants.

The total project, not just the Mill Pond, should cost less than 5 percent of the costs researched in Wild Rose and Amherst (one million dollars). None of these monies has to come from city tax dollars. The total project, not just the millpond, will drastically improve down-town pedestrian traffic. Our city has $90,000 of infrastructure sitting in the Wetlands park fund.

The monies for these facilities were all supplied by the Poole, Severns, Stelter and Schroeder estates, and corporate donations. The citizens of Wautoma, properly titled “We the People” have spoken loud and clear with their vote to refill the pond and ultimately finish the endowment/boardwalk plan.

The straw poll vote is a resounding response to City Council President King’s request to the Wautoma citizenry to bring the city’s needs and desires to the council. Let’s now see the municipal wetlands project turn into a unifying factor between city hall and its constituents. We want to preserve the prideful heritage and history of Wautoma. 

Again, “Kudos” to the citizens of Wautoma who stood up for quality and progress in our city.

/s/ Neal Olson, Mill Pond Task Force Chairman