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UWM, city partner on sustainability study

Public input sought at meeting tonight

March 11, 2013

City of Oconomowoc - The city is regarded as a leader in sustainable practices and thinking, and now residents have the opportunity to buy blocks of renewable energy from the utility and the city, a Wisconsin Energy Independent community that is part of the 25 X 25 plan. Under the plan, the city pledges to use 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.

There are numerous other ways the city utility educates residents on more-sustainable living and even offers incentives. Recently the city was selected as the recipient of a study by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate students to create an updated sustainability plan for the city to use.

The plan will address existing practices, resources and sustainable groups in the area. The project group will meet with stakeholders, city staff and officials, and the public to gather input on the plan. The first meeting is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall.

The graduate group, called Five-O Planning Inc., will offer its services for free after the city was selected by UWM professors as a winning applicant. They have been collaborating with City Planner Jason Gallo to create a project scope of services.

Student Heather Cleveland said this is the capstone project for second-year graduate students who will graduate in May.

"This will be a great opportunity to transition to the real world," said Cleveland.

The students work under the direction of Gallo, other city staff and their professors. Cleveland said that after a group of UWM professors chose the winning applicants, students picked their top few and were aligned with projects. She said what's unique about her group is they all have different degrees.

"We are getting our master's in urban planning, but we all have a wide range of backgrounds. I have an engineering degree, two have history degrees, one has a political science degree. We all have different interests and different things we can bring to the table," she said.

The scope of what they are doing for the city includes looking at existing practices and resources, meeting with the public, creating an informational brochure for the public on ways to operate and live more sustainability. The information will include ways to save money and earn incentives for sustainable practices.

They'll look at other cities comparable to Oconomowoc and see whether they have sustainable plans and what they entail. Finally, they'll create a sustainability plan for implementation.

Cleveland agreed that Oconomowoc has a lot of sustainable activity going on, but it also has a lot of overlap. "We want to find a way to bring these things together," she said.

Tuesday's meeting will introduce the study and then have those who attend gather in breakout sessions. "We really hope to have a nice turnout," said Cleveland.

If you can't attend Tuesday, you can share your input through an online survey. "It asks things like, 'How much are you willing to spend to increase efficiency in your home or business, how involved are you in the community's sustainability, is the city doing enough to promote sustainability … " Cleveland said. You can participate in the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/39FZWBR.

Cleveland said the survey's results up until Tuesday will be shared at the meeting.

If you go

What: Give feedback, ask questions about a sustainability plan for the City of Oconomowoc

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12

Where: Second floor of City Hall, 174 E. Wisconsin Ave.

RSVP: To Heather Cleveland at clevela4@uwm.edu or call (920) 254-1360

Info: Visit www.naturallyoconomowoc.org. If you can't make the meeting, fill out a survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/39FZWBR.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Dousman FD Pancake Breakfast: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.  Oct. 11, Dousman Fire Department, 107 S. Main, Dousman. Also includes Flight for Life at 9 a.m.; room fire demonstration (live fire) at 10 a.m.; car extrication demonstration at 11 a.m.  plus balloon creations (8-10 a.m.),  bounce house.  Waukesha County Communications (9-1-1), Waukesha County Sheriff K-9, Waukesha County Mobile Command Unit, ATF vehicle.

Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser: 7 a.m. -12 p.m. Oct. 10, Oconomowoc Volunteer Fire Department, 212 Concord Road, Oconomowoc. Free will donations appreciated. Also includes fire trucks and displays, raffles, kids activities. Proceeds go toward the purchase of new emergency equipment.

Move Your Mutt for HAWS: 7 a.m. Oct. 10, Genesee Lake Road Town Park, Genesee Lake Road, Oconomowoc. Choose the 5K and bring your pet or run the 10K without your dog. There is also a one-mile walk. Raise $100 in pledges and race for free. Food and beverages available as well as vendor booths and adoptable pets from HAWS. $25 one-mile walk, $45 for 5K, 10K.


Tyke Hike: 10 a.m. Oct. 10, Lapham Peak State Park, W 329 N 846, Delafield. Please meet at the observation tower. Look for yellow ’Ice Age Trail Event’ signs. Tyke hikes are 60- to 90-minute slow-paced hikes promoting nature and family hiking in an outdoor educational setting. 


All weekend happenings