Meeting focuses on strategies to grow Fredonia

Village, school officials discuss ways to jumpstart local housing, economy
Ozaukee Press Staff

Growing the residential base and the overall local economy again dominated the discussion of the second joint meeting of the Fredonia Village Board and Northern Ozaukee School Board on Monday night.

Building houses that young families want to move into is essential to maintaining and growing a quality school district, School Board member Dan Large said.

“We’re not getting any younger. When the kids are gone, I’ll be staying in my house, as will lots of other people. We need new houses for families with kids to live in,” Large said, directing his comments primarily to Village Board members, who he urged to do what they could to spur economic development.

Large and Northern Ozaukee Supt. Dave Karrels said just adding 50 students to the district would mean nearly half a million dollars in additional revenue over time to the district without requiring additional staff.

Village Trustee John Long said the village currently has 25 buildable residential lots. He and other trustees also said they are hopeful that subdivisions planned 10 years ago for north of the village and east of Highway 57, that would have accommodated hundreds of new houses, might be brought back.

Trustees also said they have been in contact with the Ozaukee Economic Development office and others advising them on ways to attract businesses and developers to the area.

Karrels said that during the past few years the school district has improved its ability to retain staff and reduce the number of families who live in the district but send their children to other districts through open enrollment. 

He also noted that construction of an addition to the high school, including a new cafeteria and auditorium, started Monday, almost exactly one year since the first meeting was held on the $14.95 million referendum that was passed last April.

Those developments are creating an energy in the district and the community at large, Karrels said. “What we have in this room is a desire to see our community thrive,” he said.

Also discussed was the need to develop the school as an emergency shelter for the area. School officials have estimated the total cost of the project to be about $150,000, with the biggest ticket item being a  back-up generator.

School Board members asked village trustees to contribute to that expense, but trustees said nothing could be done until next year’s budget is discussed later this year and even then the village might not be able to make a significant contribution.

Village President Don Dohrwardt noted that only about a third of the district’s enrollment comes from the village and urged School Board members to approach officials in the towns of Belgium, Fredonia and Saukville whose residents also attend the district. School officials said they would.

Officials tentatively agreed to meet again on Monday, April 15. They also agreed that a member of each board would regularly attend meetings of the other. 



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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