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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

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 or call (920) 254-1360

Info: Visit If you can't make the meeting, fill out a survey at

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Weekend Happenings

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Breakfast with the Reindeer: 9 a.m. Dec. 5, Fish Hatchery Building, 417 Main St., Delafield. Meet Santa’s reindeer and enjoy doughnut holes, milk and hot cocoa. Free.

Live Nativity: 5 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5, St. Mathew’s Lutheran Church, 818 W. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Pet the camel, ox, donkey, sheep and goats. Hot chocolate and refreshments served indoors. Free.

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Village of Monches Artisan Open House & Holiday Craft Fair: 9 a.m. Dec. 5, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Church, W302 N8593 O’Neill Road, Monches. Also includes food, homemade baked goods, raffles, chili, pies and more. Concert in church at 1 p.m. by the Kettle Moraine Symphony.

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