City, clinic improve communications
By Mike Warren
MARSHFIELD – City of Marshfield officials are ramping up their efforts to improve the frequency of meetings with the Marshfield Clinic Health System, on matters which affect both entities.
During their Nov. 9 meeting, members of the common council were told by Marshfield City Administrator Steve Barg that he and Marshfield Clinic Chief Administrative Officer Pat Board held a recent meeting to discuss issues which pertain to both the city and the health system.
“We came up with several ideas,” Barg told council members. “It’s kind of the idea that we meet on several levels. First of all, Pat and I are going to meet on a fairly regular basis. We’re also talking about, twice a year, that the Clinic would have someone come here and update the Council on what they’re doing, what their plans are, how things are going, and if we would do the same thing. We also talked about periodically, maybe a group of three or four of us, getting together from each side, and just talking about some long-term planning issues.”
Barg also said negotiations continue between the two sides regarding the clinic’s efforts to achieve tax-exempt status for its main building at 1000 North Oak Avenue, and for its East Wing at 1001 North Oak Ave.
“Those discussions go on,” Barg said. “There are conversations going on right now, primarily legal, between the attorneys about some of the issues with a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), and how that could be structured, and would it be something that could work for both sides. There’s really nothing I can report. I think ultimately we’ll probably come back to a group of individuals from both sides getting together, but right now it’s mainly kind of a legal framework of where we stand.”
Another sticking point between the city and clinic as of late has been the health system’s attempts to get a skywalk built over Oak Avenue between the East Wing and the Marshfield Medical Center hospital. After initially blocking the proposal in September, the majority of aldermen agreed in mid-October to green-light the project, voting 8-1 in favor of an agreement which allows the clinic to lease air space over a city street, which state statutes require for such projects.
Council approves initial plans for future home of Jurustic Park
The Friends of Jurustic Park, in cooperation with Clyde & Nancy Wynia, have received conditional approval from the City of Marshfield Common Council to move forward with plans related to the proposed future home of Jurustic Park in Wildwood Park.
At its Nov. 9 meeting, the council also unanimously passed a motion to approve the general concept and location for the sculpture park within the city’s flagship 157-acre Wildwood Park and refer the matter to the plan commission for review, once a draft design has been completed.
Alderman Tom Witzel wanted to proceed with caution.
“I like the idea. I think that Wildwood Park is an awesome place for this to end up,” Witzel led off by saying.
“The only hesitation I had was that that area is used for a lot of other things, whether it’s Maple Fall Fest or those types of things. I would like to make sure that, however this is put together, there’s a way that there can be some separation. I can’t think of another place in the park to put it. But, I also don’t want to be going through a craft fair and seeing things hanging off sculptures that are for sale. I’d like to see, as the plans are moving forward, that there’s some way to differentiate it from the rest of the park.”
Specifically, the group has targeted the area between the Wildwood Station pavilion and the Lower Pond.
The council’s motion allows the Friends of Jurustic Park to take the next step, which according to a press release from the group “is soliciting proposals from award-winning design firms that specialize in projects of this type. A site plan will be developed to accommodate most of the Wynias’ current large art works, as well as some new, creative pieces which are in the works. While paying attention to practical issues, such as security, safety and protection of the sculptures, designers will also be asked to find ways to capture the whimsicality, joy and entertainment value of Jurustic Park.”
The well-known tourist attraction continues to operate just north of Marshfield, and in 2020 hosted over 15,000 visitors from all 50 U.S. states and 34 countries, according to the release.