Elk Mound village board hears complaints regarding traffic speed on Holly Avenue

By Cara L. Dempski

ELK MOUND — Two village residents appeared before the Elk Mound village board during its most recent meeting to ask that speed enforcement be given priority by the Elk Mound Police Department.

Sonny Pierce, who lives on South Holly Avenue, and Larry Nelson, who resides on Mounds View Drive, addressed the board regarding drivers – young and old – driving through the village at speeds higher than the posted 25 or 30 miles per hour.

“That squad car we’ve got, we need to sell it or do something with it, because I’ve never seen it,” Pierce said. “Ever since Dan (Downey), the part-time cop, left this village, nobody drives it.”

Pierce also advised the board that if a full-time officer were to be hired, it would to be someone with some “balls” who can hit people in their wallets and not let drivers off with warnings. The Elk Mound resident explained he has stopped students driving too fast near his home, where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour, to ask them to please slow down.

On one occasion, Pierce knew the young driver passing his home at a high rate of speed, stopped the driver, and informed him that Pierce would be informing the driver’s mother of how he was driving. Pierce said the young boy’s mother was glad Pierce said something to her son and informed him that she would be discussing it with her child as well.

Pierce especially seemed concerned for the safety of the number of school-aged children who gather on Holly Avenue in the morning and the afternoon for trips to and from school.

Tom Gilbert asked current Police Chief Travis Hakes if the village is still able to use the county’s radar trailer that provides speed readouts for approaching drivers. Hakes clarified that it is available for the village to use on a limited basis, but speculated it may be more beneficial to move speed change signs from their current places near the village park to places further south on County Highway H/Holly Avenue.

“I think part of problem, when they’re coming north into town on H, is the speed goes from 55 to 25 between the south end of the village park and the bridge over 94,” Hakes said. “We could essentially slow the county road down on the south side of the park, but I’m not sure that would alleviate anything.”

Nelson said he has seen some very speedy drivers cutting from east to west on the south side of Elk Mound via Mounds View Drive, which runs in a curve southwest from U.S. Highway 12/Menomonie Street to Holly Avenue near Pierce’s home.

Both Pierce and Nelson asked for an increase in law enforcement presence all over the village, echoing village trustee Steven Abraham’s concerns regarding traffic speed in Elk Mound. Abraham detailed an instance where he was pulling out of his driveway just as a vehicle driven by a young person attempted to pass another vehicle heading southbound over the I-94 bridge. 

“I nearly drove my car into the ditch to avoid the kids passing the other driver,” Abraham said.

The board and the two village residents discussed various approaches to solving the speed issues in town, among them being an increased patrol presence by either the village or county, moving the speed limit signs further apart to give drivers more warning of impending speed changes, and ticketing drivers more often.

Pierce and Nelson thanked the board for being willing to talk over ways to solve the problem, and expressed their hopes and a resolution was found soon. 

The board moved on to reports regarding the water and sewer services and public works and received a report on law enforcement contacts last month in Elk Mound from Police Chief Hakes. Hakes informed the board he had been able to interview the suspect in last month’s alleged property theft incident on Moundsview Court and was preparing a report for the office of the Dunn County District Attorney.

President Tom Gilbert told the board the village’s auditor had her report prepared and was hoping to present it to the board. A discussion was held regarding holding a special meeting for the entire board to learn about the audit. 

The board decided to schedule the special meeting for February 22, and move its first March meeting to March 8. The second March meeting will be held on March 15.

In other business, the village board: 

  • Discussed a mapping correction for Princeton Drive.
  • Tabled discussion regarding the village attorney, closed sessions, and the village agenda format.