Park Ridge further delays fire station project
By Kris Leonhardt
PARK RIDGE – During a Nov. 23 village board meeting, Park Ridge officials further delayed a planned village fire station project.
Trustees put a hold on the project during a Nov. 11 special meeting to give the board time to “explore options and concerns.”
The decision to further delay came after a Nov. 23 closed session meeting, during which the board conferred with legal counsel regarding new litigation that was filed in Portage County Court.
Due to the upcoming recall election, a motion was made to delay further action regarding the fire station until after the election. The board voted 5-0 to hold off on the project.
Plaintiffs file new litigation
Early this month, during a Nov. 4 motion hearing, Wood County Judge Gregory Potter dismissed a case filed against the village of Park Ridge, citing “fundamental errors.”
The lawsuit was filed on Sept. 24 in Portage County Circuit Court on behalf of Faith Pacocha, about 20 Park Ridge residents, and the state of Wisconsin.
The basis of the case filed centers around action this summer when Park Ridge village officials voted to move forward on a proposed plan to construct a new standalone fire station. The village board voted 5-0 on July 20 to pursue the project, with a total cost estimated at $406,296.
On Nov. 20, 20 village residents, including Pacocha, filed new litigation against the village board. The case is currently being assigned to an out of county judge.
Recall election is Dec. 8
At the end of September, the process was started to recall village president, Steve Bergin, and trustee, Gert Neuendorf.
Petitioners say that the board has failed to “engage the people or listen to earnest requests for more conversation or a different process throughout.” Some of the discord surrounds the planned construction of the new village fire station.
A recall election has been scheduled for Dec. 8 at the Park Ridge village hall.
Both recall races will see opposition, with Steve Menzel acquiring enough signatures to be placed on the ballot. He will vie for the village president seat against Steve Bergin. Gord Renfert will run against Gert Neuendorf, for her current trustee position.
Clerk-in-training Char Woyak said that early absentee voting begins Nov. 24 and the village hall will be open Dec. 5 for early voting.