Litchfield City Hall

What public improvement projects will become a priority for the city of Litchfield in the next few years?

Anyone curious about that — or who has their own ideas of what’s important — might want to attend an open house planned for Monday, July 26, at Litchfield City Hall. That’s the date the City Council set for an open house at which the public can learn more about the 37 potential items — with a $70 million total price tag — on the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.

The open house will run from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Monday with information boards detailing various CIP items — from wastewater facility upgrades, to wellness center, to electric meter upgrades — followed by an overview of CIP items by City Administrator David Cziok and city engineer Chuck DeWolf and a public comment period at 5 p.m.

Various information boards will be placed around the City Council chambers, and council members will be on site to mingle and discuss the plan with visitors.

The open house is another step in an 18-point “development schedule” proposed by Cziok.

The open house was proposed, Cziok wrote in a memo to the council, “In an attempt to find the best fit for a public vetting process.”

City Council members unanimously approved the open house plan, though not everyone agreed with all items on the CIP list. Council member Darlene Kotelnicki said she questioned including the wellness center in the plan, because it has not been talked about formally since a 2019 review of an initial proposal by the City Council.

“I’m really uncomfortable about putting things about the wellness center in front of people,” Kotelnicki said, adding that there were elements of the 2019 plan that “we didn’t like (and) it has things in there that we’ve questioned. I’m just uncomfortable putting that out. I’m not ready to just rubber stamp (a plan).”

The CIP makes statements about the city’s bond rating and other items, and even though City Council members know the wellness center plan is not “definite,” Kotelnicki said, “if we put it out, somebody’s going to perceive it” that way.

Council member Eric Mathwig, however, said he thought including the wellness center and other items in the open house discussionwas “a good way to get feedback.”

Council member Sarah Miller agreed, adding that she thought it important that the City Council “keep moving forward with it.”