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Minocqua Hears Concerns About Events’ Impact On Town Resources


Minocqua- Minocqua is popular with groups holding fundraising events, but the Minocqua town board learned Tuesday that at times those running events and others put a strain on town resources.

The public works director and the police chief raised concerns when a for-profit business came for permits to hold several fundraising events. Minocqua supervisors took a while, but they finally approved the request of Rick Wilson, owner of Blue Raven Production Company. He wants to use the Bearskin State Recreation Trail loop for the upcoming “Only Fools Run at Midnight” and three other events. Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim said the board was trying to “sort out” Blue Raven’s involvement and if the arrangements were become more of a private business.

In the end, the board appeared satisfied that non-profit groups were still benefitting from the arrangement and approved the permits. Wilson said this year’s Only Fools will be April 6; Paws on the Run on June 15, Fire Fighters 5K on July 27 and Minocqua Turkey Trot on Nov. 28. All four will use the Bearskin loop; the latter three will use Torpy Park.

Supervisor Billy Fried said he was taken aback when he saw the meeting agenda had listed a private company requesting picnic licenses for those events. Wilson explained that while he draws a management fee for running the events, they still benefit local non-profit groups who retain ownership of them. He said he lost money on three of the four events he organized last year. “I take the risk,” he said. Nor is it his primary income as he has a full time job outside of managing the events. According to Wilson, “...non-profits sometimes lack the experience and consistency to continually plan their events year-to-year.”

That happened last year for the Fire Fighters 5K, when the sponsoring club disbanded. Wilson brings some expertise to those groups. He started the Rump Roast Run in Minocqua that’s held during Beef-A-Rama. In 2017, it attracted 1,200 runners, according to Wilson. As details were mulled over, Fried was receptive to Wilson’s request. But he still wants “to definitely see faces of the organizations that you represent,” he told Wilson, who readily agreed to do so. Wilson told the board he’s working on a few other events in the township, but details were not yet complete.

Director of public works Mark Pertile said the town currently has some 30 events happening each year, ranging from the very large Beef-A-Rama to running events to fishing tournaments. They can put a strain on his department, especially on weekends, as department employees are asked to help with labor and to loan equipment such as picnic tables and barricades. The board kicked around a proposal to charge event organizers a fee to cover costs of extra police presence and assistance from the public works department. In the end, they decided on the status quo, with no fee.

Supervisor Bill Stengl noted those events bring in people, who fill up motels, eat at restaurants and shop. But, he too, was concerned about the impact on the two departments’ resources. Supervisors were receptive to Pertile’s concern that loaned equipment – he specifically mentioned traffic cones -- don’t always all come back. Pertile got tacit approval to require a deposit when non-profit groups borrow town equipment.

Chief David Jaeger chimed in with concerns about overtime when those events are held, as officers work traffic control. With short notice on an event, he has to pay overtime to officers because he’s not able to schedule officers sufficiently in advance. Hartzheim suggested that the groups holding fundraisers should hire people to assist moving equipment.

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