Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Could Merrill see a large commercial development on the far-east side of the city? Pat Buckett, president of Pat Buckett Realtors, is hoping so. Buckett is in the process of trying to secure the backing to construct a mini-mall which will fill land currently owned by the Town of Pine River on the eastern city limits. The plan includes at least one large commercial built by a yet to be named national company. That company is confident based on research that Merrill is a perfect fit for their commercial operation. The seven acre parcel would hold 56,000 square feet of commercial space and have room to park 200 vehicles. Buckett told the paper that the growth of US Hwy. 51 has created a perfect environment for the commercial development nearby. The plan for the developments would require three stages with the hope that the first business is open by this fall. (While the map shows it WOULD have gone from where Cup & Cone is up to where Brickner’s Park City is, this was the first rumble of Wal-Mart to Merrill)
Gerald Bauer is the latest mayoral candidate to appear before the Merrill Optimist Club to speak about his plans if elected. Bauer, like Henry Golde and Pat Nugent before him, was critical of the city’s government and spending. In total five people are running for the city’s top spot. Bauer told the group that the mayor needs to be more involved by bringing more things to the council and providing them with guidance to make better decisions. Bauer also questioned recent financial dealings and hoped that the mayor can one day be a full time job. Bauer was critical of spending decisions such as what he called routine deep cuts into the Park and Recreation budget which has resulted in the city having to do $20,000 in borrowing in order to catch up on improvements. Bauer also noted the $80,000 in rent Church Mutual paid the city for use of the city hall prior to moving was used to reduce the tax levy instead of being used to remodel the building once Church Mutual vacated. Bauer said if elected he would also explore consolidating the fire stations into one, bringing in outside engineering service, and holding a referendum on the future of the Merrill Go Round.
In area briefs: County Board Supervisor Herbert Carow turned in the most per diem’s last year for the board with $2,460. Carow, of Route 3 Tomahawk, sits on several committees including the law enforcement social services group. Chair Neil LeMay receives a salary for his role on the board of $3,500 per year. The doctor’s offices of Dr. Lester Bayer and Dr. Yusof Ahmad will move. The two physicians currently practice out of 1029 E. Main St. (now Koppelman Law Office) and will move to 716 E. 2nd St., a building they purchased from Ravn Enterprises. The move will provide the doctors with four times the space than their current abode, and they are hoping more room will attract a couple of more doctors to join the practice. The buildings on 2nd street were built in 1959 to serve as a replacement for the Ravn Clinic which was razed in 1960. The Ravn Clinic eventually moved to O’Day Street in 1976. If you want to get a look at the new city hall here is your chance. An open house will be held in the new city work space this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. The complex was purchased from Church Mutual after they began to construct their new facilities on the east side of town; the city took occupancy of the structure this last December.
The Merrill Common Council voted unanimously last night to go ahead with the installation of stop and go lights at the intersection of 3rd Street and Center Avenue. The city budgeted for the lights, but City Engineer Chuck Pierotti is uncertain as to the timeframe for their installation. The council also voted to partner with the WI DOT to reconstruct the Donoghue Bridge on West Main Street. The city would like to see sidewalks installed on both sides of the street along with a rubber mat at the railroad crossing. That project should get underway in November of 1989 and be completed by the summer of 1990, and yes, that means a detour to the Sixth Ward for about six months.
Congratulations are in order to Lorraine and Edgar Plamann who are about to warm things up in their lives with a trip to Orlando. The Plawmanns are the lucky winners in the Merrill Chamber of Commerce January Thaw contest and will soon be headed to sunny Florida. Their names were one of an estimated 10,000 entries into the drawing which was held at the Fairway Supper Club yesterday. Connie Hehling won the second place prize which is a trip to Las Vegas, and Judy Yuska took third and won a microwave oven.
It’s Valentine’s Day this Sunday and the paper is full of ideas for you to romance your sweetheart. Puttin’ on the Ritz will give you half off a breakfast with the purchase of same on Sunday. 3’s Company is serving a shrimp and prime rib dinner for just $9.95; it’s quite appropriate that the Trading Post Bar will feature the music of “Valintine” this weekend. Urban Cowboy is playing at the Trust Me Tap on Tannery Road, Ashby’s Supper Club will give the first 24 couples flowers and a glass of wine with their meals Saturday night, Club Modern has a sirloin for two and a bottle of champagne for just $15, South of the Border will offer up a tenderloin and shrimp dinner for just $5.95, and the Fairway Supper Club has a Valentine’s Day brunch featuring prime rib and ribs. Feeling a little frugal this year? Coupons in this week’s paper include .50 off a chicken sandwich at Hardee’s and $1 off a large pizza at Queenie and Ron’s.
The primary election for several spots on the April ballot will be held next Tuesday. Of local interest are the eight people running for three seats on the MAPS Board of Education. Incumbents Patricia Weber and Lynn Zentner plus former board member Pat Burg are being challenged by newcomers Curt Eckes, Jerry Mayersak, Richard Schmidt, Errol Schmelling, and Guy Schweigert. Incumbent Dan Bowen is not seeking re-election. On the city side of the ballot three people are challenging incumbent City Clerk Judy Stockowitz. Gary Schuster, Susan Kunkel, and Bill Heideman are all seeking the spot held by Stockowitz. In city aldermanic ward 1 three people are vying for that spot including incumbent Susan Kunkel and challengers Bill Bialecki and David Welk. A petition is also being circulated in town asking for a binding referendum on the spring ballot for the financing of an expansion to the T.B. Scott Library.
Lincoln County Judge J. Michael Nolan will soon get some relief in his work as the Wisconsin State Legislature has approved a second judge in Lincoln County. The second branch will likely operate out of the second floor courtroom that was built years ago to accommodate visiting judges. Election for the six-year post will be in April of next year and several people are rumored to be candidates for the new spot.