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Angela Major 

A worker smooths a patch of freshly poured concrete Wednesday in front of City Hall in Janesville. City Engineer Mike Payne said renovations to city hall likely will not be complete until mid-November. The project had been slated to be finish in October. Crews found more damage and deterioration than expected once demolition began, setting the project back at least a month. Interior fixes are being done concurrently including office renovation and front window replacement.


Angela Major 

Work is ongoing in front of City Hall on Wednesday in Janesville. City Engineer Mike Payne said renovations to city hall likely will not be complete until mid-November. The project had been slated to be finish in October. Crews found more damage and deterioration than expected once demolition began, setting the project back at least a month. Interior fixes are being done concurrently including office renovation and front window replacement.


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Alpine Valley Music Theatre sells for $7.5 million

EAST TROY

Just a year after the Alpine Valley Music Theatre got back on its feet and began hosting shows after a 2017 shutdown, the renowned outdoor music venue and amphitheater in East Troy has sold.

Consolidated-Tomoka Land Company, a Daytona Beach, Florida, real estate investment company, announced this week it has bought the 150-acre music venue off County D. The purchase includes the theater’s 37,000-capacity amphitheater and its 7,500-seat pavilion.

According to state Department of Revenue property transfer records, Consolidated-Tomoka paid the former owner, an affiliate of Milwaukee firm Zilber Property Group, $7.5 million for Alpine.

The venue has had a more than 40-year history hosting concerts by such performers as The Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffet, the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews Band.

Zilber had owned Alpine since 1989.

Under the sale, Live Nation Entertainment, the company that leases and manages Alpine Valley as a concert venue, will continue a contracted lease through 2030, Consolidated-Tomoka announced.

Consolidated-Tomoka said Live Nation’s lease will include annual rent increases over the next 11 years.

It’s not immediately clear what, if any, impact the new ownership would have on Live Nation’s operations or entertainment bookings at the venue. Live Nation’s contract is a structured as an “absolute net lease,” a type of lease that puts tenants on the hook for maintenance and management of the property.

The Gazette on Wednesday was unable to reach marketing officials who handle management and bookings at Live Nation’s regional office in Chicago.

Alpine went on a yearlong hiatus in 2017 after several years of declining concert attendance. It was the first summer since Alpine opened in 1977 that the venue didn’t host concerts.

At the time, some perennial guests to the legendary concert venue, including Jimmy Buffett, for a few years had opted to try their hand at sports stadium shows. Some of those regular bookings had pulled out of Alpine.

Live Nation worked in 2017 to upgrade Alpine’s venue, and reopened in 2018.

This year, Alpine booked back-to-back shows in July by Dave Matthews, who took a two-year break from playing at the venue, along with shows by Jimmy Buffett, and jam-band Phish.

This month, Alpine is hosting upcoming shows by The Who and the 2019 Farm Aid music festival, a set of shows led by Willie Nelson, and including other shows by Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt and Tanya Tucker.


Submitted photo 

Leigh Alfredson uses her artistic talents to create such images as this with chalk. She will return to Janesville as the featured artist for this year’s Art Infusion, which runs Sept. 7-8 at Fireman’s Park downtown.


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Janesville City Council to leave public comment as is for now

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JANESVILLE

Residents who attend Janesville City Council meetings won’t see changes to the public comment period, at least for now.

The council could not reach a consensus during a study session Wednesday on whether changes to the public comment process are needed.

Council President Rich Gruber chose to leave the issue on the table, welcoming council members to advance proposals if they wish. Public comment will remain the same unless a council member requests to add the issue to a future agenda.

Under current ordinance, residents can speak about whatever they want for four minutes during public comment. Gruber and council member Tom Wolfe sponsored an ordinance in May that would limit public comments at council meetings to topics on the agenda.

Gruber said he believes the council needs to be transparent. He gives residents many opportunities to reach out to him via phone, email or in person.

City council meetings should focus on the business at hand, Gruber said.

Wolfe said he is concerned about people making harsh or untrue statements about the city or city council during public comment. He advocated for city council members to engage with people during public comment to ensure they have more accurate information.

Council member Jim Farrell said he thinks the city is too lenient on public comments, which can lead to personal attacks on city council members and staff.

Farrell said he intends to call a “point of order” from now on if someone delivers a personal attack during public comment. He also believes the city should have a stricter time limit on comments.

Council member Doug Marklein urged the council to keep the public comment period the same.

People get emotional because it takes time and courage to stand in front of the council and speak, Marklein said.

He questioned why the council would shut the door on transparency at a time when many people don’t think public officials are listening to them.

Council member Sue Conley said it is beneficial for people to have the opportunity to speak freely to the entire council.

Conley proposed a compromise that would allow the public to speak about agenda items for four minutes or nonagenda items for two minutes.

During his first few months on the council, Paul Benson said he has seen people make meandering comments but nothing dramatic enough to push for a change.

It might not be the most efficient use of time, Benson said, but he supports keeping public comment the same.


Obituaries and death notices for Sept. 5, 2019

Shirley M. Albright

Carol M. Austin

Heidi Householder

Mary Howe

James C. Jensen

Barbara A. Lawrence

Anna R. Lunetto

Delores Ann Morris

Jeffrey D. “Ormp” Ormson

Judith M. “Judie” Siefert

Everett O. Wells

Richard “Dick” Wienke