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Council wants to see flag design on Ashland water tower

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City Flag

FLAG FOR FRANK: The Ashland City Council and the Creative District Committee presents Frank Budz with an Ashland city flag during the city council meeting on Sept. 15 to honor him for his winning entry in the city flag design contest held earlier this year. Pictured are (front row, from left) Mayor Rick Grauerholz, Budz, Creative District Committee member Mary Roncka, Creative District Chairperson Steve Nabity, City Council Member Bruce Wischmann; (back row) City Council Member Chuck Niemeyer, Creative District Member Caleb Fjone, City Council Member Jim Anderson, Creative District Member Bobby Fricke and City Council Member Jake Crnkovich. 

ASHLAND – The Ashland City Council took a few minutes at the start of last Thursday’s meeting to acknowledge the contributions of two citizens.

Mayor Rick Grauerholz read a proclamation naming Sept. 18 as Doris Deleski Day in Ashland to honor the woman who has worked as the volunteer director of the Ashland Dog Pound for the past decade.

In the proclamation, Grauerholz noted Deleski’s dedication to the community and to the dogs that live here shown by the countless volunteer hours she spent finding helping lost, injured or homeless dogs.

The council also recognized Frank Budz for designing the new city flag by giving Budz his very own flag. Budz had the winning design chosen by a vote of the public earlier this year. Budz’s design is a sunrise peaking over a blue horizon and with a ribbon of white and light blue indicating water.

The contest was sponsored by the Ashland Creative District Committee as a way to demonstrate community engagement in their quest for Creative District designation from the state, which was achieved in June. The Flora District is the first creative district in the state.

Once the photos were taken and the recognition doled out, the council got down to business.

“Now we go to work,” said Grauerholz.

That work included discussing whether or not the flag design should be included when the east water tower is repainted this fall. City Administrator Jessica Quady showed the council images provided by Viking Industrial Painting with the proposed design, which includes the new city flag.

The council hired Maguire Iron to maintain the city’s water towers earlier this year. Part of the agreement includes repainting the water towers.

Quady said “Ashland” and the city’s compass logo will be painted on the north and south sides of the water tower.

The city will pay extra for the flag to be incorporated on the tower as well. Quady said it would cost $4,500 to be painted on one side or $8,000 for both.

Quady suggested the flag only be painted on the west side, as there isn’t much traffic coming from the east.

Council Member Chuck Niemeyer said it will be a nice touch to include the flag on the water tower.

“I do like getting the flag incorporated into that because we’re going to use that a lot in the city as various phases in a lot of our materials that go out,” he said.

Most council members indicated they agreed that the flag would only need to be placed on the west side. However, Council Member Jake Crnkovich said he had issues with the flag being painted in a rectangular shape. He said the flag should show some sort of movement, like it is waving.

“I would vote no to a rectangular flag,” he said.

Quady was directed to get more information on painting the flag.

The council also held public hearings to amend the future land use map and change zoning for Oxbow Crossing, a new retail and multi-family housing development planned on the east side of the highway near the Silver Street intersection.

The developers are Ruhlman Development Company, which includes Ashland area resident Phil Ruhlman and his brothers, Matt and Mark Ruhlman. The development will include a steakhouse, retail space that will include a fast food restaurant and two 24-unit apartment buildings.

The developers are asking for a change in zoning from light industrial to business (B1) and residential (R3). The project will be a planned unit development (PUD), which allows for mixed land use in a single development. In the Ashland City Codes, the intent of a PUD is “to encourage the creative design of new living and retail areas, as distinguished from subdivisions of standard lot sizes, in order to permit such creative design in buildings, open space, and their inter-relationship while protecting the health, safety and general welfare of existing and future residents of surrounding neighborhoods.”

Peter Hind with Schemmer Associates is architect on the project, and he outlined the project during the public hearing.

City Engineer Julie Ogden recommended the developer conduct a traffic study to gauge how the development will impact Highway 6 and Birch Street, especially during peak hours.

Birch Street is currently unpaved in east Ashland but plans show it would be paved when the phase of the development that includes the apartment units is built.

“I just wanted to make sure we’re getting everything we need and have appropriate access on the highway,” Ogden said.

Hind said the study will cost the developer $12,000 and will take 45 days. Ogden agreed that the developer could provide preliminary data that can be reviewed by JEO before the full study is completed. If little or no impact is predicted, the study would not need to be continued.

After the public hearing, the council approved the first of three readings of ordinances regarding the amended future land use map and zoning changes for Oxbow Crossing. The developer agreed to provide additional information, including traffic, covenants, landscape plans and storm water drainage plans before the final reading takes place at the Oct. 20 meeting.

The council also extended the nuisance abatement deadline to Oct. 20 for the property at 106 South 16th Street owned by Lowell Krueger.

Krueger had given City Building Official Bill Krejci a schedule detailing when he will complete tasks to abate the nuisance. Council members noted that Krueger seems to be getting things checked off the list, and approved the extension.

Suzi Nelson is the managing editor of The Ashland Gazette. Reach her via email at suzi.nelson@ashland-gazette.com.

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