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At last night’s Common Council meeting, two agenda items of concern to Kenosha citizens were approved unanimously.  The first was the establishment of a City of Kenosha Commission on the Arts.  The Mayor proposed an amendment to change the name of the commission from the “Mayor’s Commission” to the “City of Kenosha Commission.”  Seven citizens spoke in favor of this item during the Citizens’ Comments portion of the meeting.  Citizens in favor included:  Joe Blineshine (Arts Commission), Debra Karp (Arts Wisconsin), Dean Yohnk (UW-Parkside’s interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences), Bonnie Mirkiewicz (Forever Grateful), Angie Aker, Melanie Hovey (Lemon Street Gallery), and Maureen Cashin Bolog (Actor’s Craft).

Karp stated that several cities in Wisconsin recently created arts commissions:  Grafton, LaCrosse, and Stevens Point.  “This will impact education and the economy,” Karp stated.  Yohnk told the Common Council that UW-Parkside opened their $40 million new addition today which will house the arts, theater, and a recital hall.  “Three and a half million dollars came from one Chicago donor,” he stated.  “This is just the beginning.  This will be a major arts engine for the area, a destination for cultural communication.”  Aker is a long-time Kenosha resident who moved back from New York, and she stated that she was surprised to find a “thriving arts community” here.

The second major agenda item was the approval of the HOME Program Agreement between the city and Celebre Place LLC for the Celebre Place Senior Residential Care Apartment Complex (RCAC).  Five people spoke during the Citizens’ Comments portion of the meeting.  Some of the same people also spoke during the public hearing on this item.  People who spoke were:  Philip Schultz (President of Villa Ciera, Inc.), Myrna Jones (manager of Villa Ciera, Inc.), Linda Bauer (a Villa Ciera resident), Pam Kline (Fresh Coast Providers), Jody Giovanni (United Hospital System physical therapist), Bill Michels (Senior Action Council), Robert Gake (developer), and Rocco LaMacchia (alderperson of the district).

Bauer spoke of her 73-year-old husband’s possible move to Celebre Place in the future.  “I’d rather go a few steps away to see him versus a few miles away.  It would be much easier on both of us.”  Kline represented the company that would be providing the services to the residents of the assisted living facility.  “This will be the first facility in Kenosha County of its kind that will provide affordable services to the senior residents.  There is a similar property in Racine.”  She also spoke of the 15 to 35 jobs that would be created for Kenosha residents as a result of approving this agreement.

Steve Bostrom raised some questions concerning the jobs that were mentioned, and also some of the financing aspects of the agreement, which were answered to his satisfaction.

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