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The Osceola, Wis., Village Board last week approved three permits for the construction of a 95-unit apartment complex on a bluff overlooking the St. Croix River, despite concerns from some that the project would violate river protections.

The project by Gaughan Cos. of Forest Lake has been planned for the former site of the Osceola Medical Center at River Street and 3rd Avenue, one block west of Osceola's main business district and within the village's River Town Management Zone, where town code protects the natural and scenic qualities of the river.

Supporters of the plan said it would provide much-needed housing for the area. Opponents said it appeared from materials provided by the developer that the building would be visible from the river, a violation of state standards for the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway that say such buildings should be "difficult to see, or not readily noticeable, in summer months as viewed from at or near the mid-line of the Lower St. Croix river."

Osceola Village Administrator Devin Swanberg said demolition of the old medical center building could begin as soon as August.


East Bethel mayor resigns

East Bethel Mayor Tim Harrington has stepped down.

The City Council at its June 12 meeting accepted Harrington's resignation, and in a unanimous vote appointed Council Member Kevin Lewis to assume his duties.

Harrington, when reached by phone, said he gave up the job "for personal reasons."

Harrington had served on the council for 10 years and in 2022 was elected mayor. He defeated incumbent Suzanne Erkel with 56% of the vote. Harrington's term was to end Dec. 31, 2024.

The city will accept applications to fill Lewis' vacant council seat and will aim to appoint a fifth council member at its June 26 meeting, City Administrator Jack Davis said.

Tim Harlow