LAKESHORE REGIONAL NEWS: Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County

Manitowoc mayor discusses mask mandate, downtown improvements during Community Update

Local News

(WFRV) – Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels joined WFRV Local 5 This Morning for a Community Update. Mayor Nickels discussed the mask mandate for city-owned facilities, downtown improvements, and public art.

On Monday, Manitowoc’s mask mandate went into effect. Can you tell us who and where people have to wear face coverings?

Mayor Nickels says that the mandate, approved by the Common Council, requires masks to be worn in city-owned properties like City Hall and the Senior Center.

What if someone does not comply?

Mayor Nickels says that while there is not a fine for those who do not comply, if too many people do not wear masks in city-owned facilities, certain facilities could close down again.

“If patrons truly want to continue to have those services provided to them, they should really wear a mask or we may have to make the difficult decision of closing places like the Senior Center down again,” Mayor Nickels says.

There was some controversy after a photo few Manitowoc businessmen holding what appeared to be a noose was posted on Facebook. Did this spark a community conversation?

Mayor Nickels says the incident did initiate a conversation among the community, but another incident has created new controversy.

“Unfortunately, last Monday night, we had a County Board supervisor Don Zimmer also come to our City Council meeting and have some disparaging comments,” Mayor Nickels explained. “But we also appointed our first African American man to serve on the City Council in the city’s history. So we made history that same night.

The City of Manitowoc Police are now working with the Lakeshore’s United Visionaries, or LUV, who promotes diversity and a larger conversation about the city and its values.

“Frankly, we haven’t had that conversation and it’s a shame that we haven’t,” he continues. “A lot of people in our community are starting to open up to that conversation again with a lot of elected officials and citizens. In Manitowoc, we need to have that conversation.”

There have been several improvements to Manitowoc’s downtown, tell us about them.

Mayor Nickels says flowers and trees have been added to the downtown area to help brighten it up.

“Our main goal was to make downtown a safe place for people to want to walk and enjoy, so we added a lot of safety features along our main streets,” Mayor Nickels explains.

He adds that the city has started a facade grant program that allows businesses the opportunity to replace their facades. Many businesses have taken part in the program, according to Mayor Nickels.

The City of Manitowoc just purchased the Canadian Nationa, or CN Peninsula, for $800,000. It’s a more than 20-acre plot of land – what are the plans for it?

According to Mayor Nickels, the goal is to put residential, restaurants, and some commercial spaces on the peninsula, which is located along the Manitowoc River, as well as a river walk and public spaces.

“When you look at that and see the potential of an empty piece of property, not many cities have that potential, especially in a historic downtown,” Mayor Nickels says.

How is the S.S. Badger carferry and tourism season in light of the coronavirus pandemic?

The S.S. Badger has cut down on its capacity and trip frequency this year in light of COVID-19.

Mayor Nickels highlighted some local events that will allow Manitowoc residents and guests to get outdoors while still social distancing.

Check out our recent Community Updates below:

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