After the town of Osceola met at their May 19 Annual Meeting of Electors, the board of supervisors heard large support from residents who would like to see multi-use ordinances re-introduced into the Stower Seven Lakes Trail. At the June 2 board of supervisors’ meeting, supervisor Brandon Whittaker announced that the board would pen a letter to the Polk County Board of Supervisors and Environmental Services Committee that reflects the desires of some Osceola residents.

“The Town of Osceola has heard from our residents in great numbers regarding the Stower Seven Lakes Trail and how it should be used to its full extent going forward…” the letter reads. “As a result, the Osceola Town Board would like to express its support for multiple users of the trail… As the Town of Osceola anchors the western end of the Stower Trail, we feel that we can maximize the benefits to making the trail multi-use for all to enjoy and for economic growth going forward.”

The Polk County Environmental Services Committee will be meeting Wednesday, June 10 where they will be reviewing video and written testimony from the June 2-3 public hearings on the Stower Trail master plan and will consider those recommendations to the County Board. The Town of Osceola’s letter was planned for submission prior to this meeting in hopes of consideration from the Committee and County Board and addresses the master plan.

“The Town of Osceola Board of Supervisors is aware of the Draft Master Plan for the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail dated February 26, 2020,” the letter reads. “We realize there is both support and opposition for the many alternatives listed in the draft plan. The Town can support adding uses to the trail that are described in the draft Master Plan, provided that the goals and objectives itemized in the master plan are realized as a result of adding any new trail users; none of the current allowed uses are displaced due to substantive impact and adding new users to the trail does not create a real perceived safety risk.  An example multi-use trail is the Gandy Dancer Trail in Danbury, Wisc. We trust that the county will work closely with clubs and organizations that bring recreationalists together on a shared trail to ensure that the multi-use trail can be enjoyed by all permitted users together.”

When some community members brought up a letter submitted to the Polk County Board from July 11, 2018 that stated the Town of Osceola supported a non-motorized Stower Trail, supervisor Whittaker responded.

 “Things change – opinions change,” he said. “We want everyone to have a chance to use it and that’s what I think people at the end of the annual meeting would like us to do. I don’t see it being an issue for us to send this letter to the county and let them know that we would now like to see the trail be open for everyone instead of separating our community.” 

Other Business: 

A motion carried to place a permanent Class B weight restriction on Oak Drive Road from Waste HWY MM to the transfer station. This would limit the amount of thru-traffic from business trucks that have caused some concern among residents who say that the degradation of the road is a result of daily truck traffic. 

A motion carried to secure bonding for clerk and treasurer positions for $100,000 each in the event of signing a check that is erroneous and could result in leaving the check signer responsible. 

Supervisor Whittaker brought up an incident where an absentee-ballot was submitted to the town election staff that had a “substance” contained in the envelope. The staff contacted Polk County Sheriff who inspected the envelope and determined that the substance was likely sand and was disposed of. Supervisor Whittaker contacted the USPS federal investigators who found that the return address on the envelope did not match the individual who allegedly sent it, but they were unable to conduct any research because the evidence was disposed of. Supervisor Whittaker asked that if any other instance similar to this occurred, to contact the USPS Federal Investigators for a full investigation. It was determined that there was no threat at this incident.

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