The city of Green Lake will replace its sign at the Highway 23 Industrial Park and revitalize its marketing efforts as it works to sell that land to prospective businesses.
The move comes after last week Tuesday’s ad hoc economic development committee meeting.
Within the last year alone, Ald. Chris Foos, who is the chairman of the city’s economic development committee, said there has been interest in the property from two retailers and several other businesses.
“That 23 acres of land is a great property that is good to go for development,” Foos said. “The cost of infrastructure that would need to go in is not too much.”
The city has been trying to sell the plots of open land between Stuart’s Landscaping & Garden Center and the Green Lake Mobile Home Park along Highway 23 since at least 2017.
In fact, the Common Council voted in September 2019 to sell the entire parcel. A month after that decision, however, aldermen were surprised to learn that former Mayor Jon McConnell vetoed the sale of the industrial park as he believed council members were not informed enough to decide to sell the industrial park.
At the time, McConnell said the decision would be “cutting off [options] for any future councils to do anything with that land; maybe there’s going to be a change in the council of three people that really want to do something and think that it’s good to have a business park.”
The next month, in November, the Common Council failed to override McConnell’s veto.
In June 2020, the Common Council agreed to revive the city’s economic development committee that was formed a few administrations ago, which had been dormant since October 2019. There was talk a week earlier at the Committee of the Whole meeting about creating a new one, before the old one was brought to the council’s attention.
“Instead of forming a new committee, we are going to resurrect that committee with a new chairman, Chris Foos, and there will be a relevant and aggressive agenda with the top of the list being [the Highway] 23 industrial park,” Green Lake Mayor Ray Radis said back in June.
Green Lake still is looking for a business or businesses interested in developing the Highway 23 industrial park. However, there are infrastructure costs associated with the development; namely, connecting the property to gas, water and electricity.
The Commonwealth reported in 2019 that the infrastructure cost for the industrial park could range from $500,000 to $901,541 depending on a potential buyer’s needs.
But Foos said he spoke to former Public Works Director Glen McCarty in late 2020 and the two found the infrastructure costs to be lower than the 2019 figures.
Foos explained that there’s existing infrastructure that comes up to Highway 23 from Crossroads Market, so developing the industrial park would require connecting water, gas and electric across Highway 23.
“It’s right there,” Foos said of the infrastructure connection with Crossroads. “The draw for people is that it wouldn’t be difficult to get infrastructure going in there.”
Foos noted the city will work with Brad Ruth, who designed the Green Lake water tower, to work on a design for the industrial park’s new billboard.
He added that several slogans have been floated, including “23 Acres For Your Ideas” and “23 Acres of Potential,” but no official slogan has been selected.
In addition, Foos believes the industrial park is a great location because Highway 23 is one of the most travelled roadways in Green Lake County and its in close proximity to Crossroads Market and Dollar General, which have been successful since launching.
“That stretch is important because it gets so much traffic with great exposure from the east, west, north and south,” he said. “It also connects to the surrounding communities of Omro, Berlin, Ripon, Green Lake and Princeton”
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