Lake Hallie moves forward on controversial public safety building

By: Jenny You, Aaron Dimick Email
By: Jenny You, Aaron Dimick Email

LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The village board of Lake Hallie held a public meeting to discuss the next step for a new public safety building.

The board is calling it the largest project it will likely ever undertake; a project that was recommended by voters during the November elections and has been talked about for six years.

Thursday evening, the board room was filled with the public, board members, those who work in the public safety building and four engineering firms.

Members talked about setting a dollar amount for the project, quality, space, needs and what to do with the old safety building.

An idea that wasn't included and now is being looked at is including new village offices within the building plan.

The board plans to meet again next Wednesday with the chiefs of both departments and the engineering firms.

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LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It's a hot-button issue that's been going on for years.

And now a local community will begin talking about constructing a new building for those who keep them safe.

Back in November, voters in Lake Hallie approved an advisory referendum, giving their support to a new public safety building.

Although the village board will begin talking about the new building at a meeting Thursday night, it has taken two months to take action.

The votes have been cast but the fate of the Lake Hallie police and fire building is in the hands of the Village Board.

Board Trustee Pete Lehmann said voters only approved an advisory referendum.

Meaning it's up to the board to give the final go ahead to the potential $4.5 million project.

“We're going to step back into the project, review space requirements, building type, understand where we're going with the project and how we want to proceed,” Lehmann said.

But those aren't the only things that have to be considered.

While voter approval may have been a sign of consumer confidence in November, Lehmann worries the economic climate could change.

“It appears that the income taxes are not going to hit the stages that they talked about. But we don't know what the other things may impact as they resolve the debt ceiling,” Lehmann said.

Some have wondered if the village has been stalling to make final plans.

But lifelong Lake Hallie resident Sarah Liddell said she understands this stuff takes time.

“It sounds like a great idea and then they start looking at the finances and go ‘Oh, we can't pull that off as quickly as we'd like to’ and everything gets slowed down. It happens in households every day,” Lidell said.

Kathy Anderson said she has been following this issue closely and the village should follow the voter's will.

“I think they should have had a plan ready to go because this has been something that’s been talked about for a lot of years. The voters approved it so now we should have it,” Anderson said.

Lehmann said that the election and the holidays got in the way of getting the ball rolling.

“You take the time to do due diligence, because the residents would be more frustrated if the project was mishandled and hastily put out there,” Lehammn said.

The meeting started at 7 p.m. at the Lake Hallie Village Hall.


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