(Beaver Dam) Around two dozen city residents attended a listening session hosted by the mayor of Beaver Dam Monday night. Becky Glewen outlined several topics at the onset including roads and infrastructure, downtown and economic development, blight elimination and drug issues.
Ward Five Alderman Mick Fischer cut-short the mayors opening presentation saying that she should be listening instead of speaking. Fischer criticized money being used for downtown revitalization that he says should be spent on roads. He said every constituent he had spoken with during the recent election said roads were their number one issue.
“What happens when you spend all your money trying to attract the yuppie crowd out of Madison,” Fischer said, “instead of taking care of the Beaver Dam residents who live here and pay taxes here.”
Glewen says the city would be shooting itself in the foot economically if it’s not attracting young people and increasing the tax base. She noted that Beaver Dam is not a one-issue community and blamed Fischer, who’s been on the council on-and-off for decades, for not recognizing the escalating problem with streets until just recently.
“This has been an issue for ten or 15 years,” she said, “You have held the budget for that long, you put a hold on spending for that long, so this is what happens when you don’t take care of your house.”
Members of the audience at one point reminded Fischer that, as an alderperson, he has ample opportunity to speak with the mayor anytime and the listening session should be for citizens. After questions from the audience dwindled, Fisher engaged the mayor again and spoke of the “progressive liberal” make-up of the council before being with met groans from the audience while also being asked by the mayor not to politicize the non-partisan council.
Ward Five resident Stephanie Addison wanted to know about successes in attracting new residents and businesses. “What about those ‘yuppies’ who are coming and bringing their businesses and spending their money?” Addison asked. A new restaurant, coffee shop and brewery were referenced as Glewen said “there are a lot, a lot, a lot of good conversations happening…there’s good momentum.” She also teased a new downtown business but would not elaborate.
Citizens made one more comment on the condition of roads, noting specifically that it is an embarrassment to have outsiders use Madison Street to enter the city, but most of the conversation focused on other topics. Questions and comments included downtown redevelopment, attracting new residents, recreational opportunities, the water utility, paying for sidewalks, crime and the Lakecrest Apartments and progress on citywide beautification.
One resident said the city should take better care of the parks and let business owners focus on downtown cleanup. Glewen agreed and said she would love to see business more involved with beautification, especially weed control. She also recommended citizens use volunteerdodge.net to find ways to contribute to the betterment of the city.
On the topic of streets, one resident did note that during the current reconstruction of Stone Street, motorists have been violating the “road closed” signs, even driving on sidewalks to navigate construction. That immediately caught the attention of the police chief who was in attendance.
You can hear the listening session here*
*Note: this is a raw audio recording that is not broadcast quality, no individual speaker uses a microphone