New Sussex village hall plans discussed
Village of Sussex — Although the project has yet to be publicly debated or approved, an 11-member citizen advisory committee last week got its first look at proposed floor plans for a new two- or three-story Village Hall that might be built next to a new YMCA building adjacent to the Pauline Haass Library, all part of a new civic center campus on Main Street.
Village taxpayers may be expected to pay about $7 million for construction of the 48,000-square-foot village hall, according to village officials.
In addition, they may also contribute about $7 to $8 million of the $14 to $15 million needed to construct the 75,000-square-foot YMCA building that would include an aquatic center, two gymnasiums, and a fitness center, according to a proposed partnership agreement between the village and the Central Waukesha County YMCA.
The YMCA would be connected to the village hall and the village hall would be connected to the Pauline Haass Library.
The Central Waukesha County YMCA would be responsible for raising the additional $7 million to $8 million for its new building. The Cental Waukesha County YMCA is independent of the Milwaukee YMCA, which has encountered financial difficulties, according to Waukesha County Y officials.
In return for its contribution, the village would be permitted to use some Y facilities for village programs and village residents might be allowed to join the Y at a discounted fee, according to village officials.
The village hall floor plans include space for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (2,925 square feet), the chamber of commerce (345 square feet), the historical society (4,100 square feet), Sussex Outreach Services (6,384 square feet) as well as 16,589 square feet for various village departments and activities as well as additional 4,103 square feet for the library.
Another approximately 16,000 square feet is needed for public space, restrooms, walls, corridors and mechanical rooms, according to the preliminary plans presented by architectural design consultants Kahler Slater of Milwaukee
The Civic Campus Advisory Committee was presented during its Thursday, Aug. 14, meeting with options that included a two-story building with a lower level and a three-story building with a lower level.
The committee is expected to continue to review the plans, propose changes, and make recommendations to the village board either later this year or early next year, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.
Smith and Village Trustee Pat Tetzlaff said village residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions about the proposed project during a series of information meetings that will be held the remainder of this year and next year.
The first of those meetings is scheduled for next week, Wednesday, Aug. 27. There will be a 4 to 5:30 p.m. meeting at Weyer Park followed by a 6 to 7:30 p.m meeting at the Village Park, according to Tetzlaff, who co-chairs the advisory committee.
Tetzlaff acknowledged that some residents have voiced concerns to her regarding locating the Y facility downtown and the amount of traffic the Y would generate on Main Street.
YMCA officials have said they anticipate the facility will attract about 1,000 cars a day. The facility had initially been planned to be located at the intersection of Lisbon Road and Highway 164. The location changed, however, when it became apparent that the village might be willing to partner with the YMCA in the construction of the facility.
Some village board members have argued the partnership would provide convenient recreational facilities for village families, new customers for downtown business owners, and much-needed modern facilities for village government and some community not-for-profit organizations.
The proposed partnership between the Central Waukesha County YMCA and the village was discussed during a closed meeting of the Village Board in May.
Robert Dreps, an attorney for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, has questioned the legality of the meeting. He said that the details of the proposal submitted to the village by the YMCA board of directors should have been discussed in an open meeting.
After the open session, trustees could have gone into a closed session to discuss the strategy they wanted to follow in negotiating with the YMCA, according to Dreps.
Village officials, including Village Attorney John Macy, have defended the closed session, saying state law permits municipal boards to go into closed session when it is determined to be in the best interest of the public while the municipality is engaged in negotiations over the purchase of land or where competitive bargaining is taking place.
Tetzlaff emphasized that no final decisions will be made by the Village Board until residents have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed project. She said it is important for the advisory committee to develop architectural plans so the residents and village trustees have plans upon which to base their opinions.
"This not a done deal," she said.
"But, we have to move forward. If we don't provide people with plans and information, how can we expect them to comment about it," she concluded.
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