The Green Lake Common Council Monday took a few initial steps to pursue a development in the Highway 23 Industrial Park, and revealed the developer it has spoken with in closed session.
More details surrounding the project came to light Monday as KDR Wood Design Co. is pursuing a development on the industrial park, which will house the business’ sawmill and woodshop.
“We’re excited to continue growing in Green Lake and we’re trying to build and bring more jobs to the community,” KDR owner Kaleb Ranker said. “It’s a good market and we’re just happy for the opportunity to do this here in the city.”
The Common Council voted unanimously Monday to pursue a developer’s agreement with KDR that includes deeding four acres of land up to 12 total acres.
Similarly, the Common Council also unanimously approved continuing to explore a land exchange regarding access to the Highway 23 Industrial Park.
“We’re very excited to be working with a local business and a local developer to utilize the land on our Highway 23 Industrial Park,” Mayor Ray Radis told the Commonwealth. “We’re working to initially deed them four acres and after they have a proven concept, we will deed them up to 12 acres of land on it.”
Ranker said the 12-acre development will happen in phases.
Once each phase is completed, he noted KDR will be deeded more land to complete the additional phases.
“We’re expanding and building a mill business; our sawmill business will be doing some hardwood, lumber and specialty live edge slab lumber,” Ranker said. “Then we’re also moving our woodshop and expanding our main cabinet and furniture business.”
Despite the expansion, he added that KDR will maintain its storefront in downtown Green Lake.
The idea to expand to the industrial park property originated because KDR was looking at potential properties and Ranker had a discussion with Radis about what was available in town.
“We actually looked at five or six different locations around Green Lake — some in the city and some in the township,” Ranker said. “The city came back to us and basically said they were interested in having us develop out there [on Highway 23].”
Radis said KDR’s sawmill and woodshop project is an important part of the city’s efforts to continue to promote industrial growth and create jobs, which is why the city intends to deed the land at no charge to developers.
Ranker added that KDR is not looking for developer incentives in the form of tax increment financing (TIF), a tool used by municipalities to promote construction.
“We’re doing this all out of our own pockets,” Ranker said.
In addition to KDR’s development, the city plans to build a frontage road between Highway 23 and the industrial park, similar to the road between Highway 23 and Stuart’s Landscaping & Garden Center, Radis noted.
The mayor said Green Lake also is working with Egbert Excavating owner Dan Egbert on a potential land trade in the industrial park, which still is in the preliminary stages.
Even so, he noted there still will be available land for development after KDR’s 12-acre project is completed as the total industrial park is 23-acres.
Currently, Radis said the city has no plans to extend sewer and water utilities across Highway 23 to the industrial park.
“We don’t have a plan on the table right now,” he said. “For the future, that would be something we’d look at doing. If we do that, it would probably attract other businesses. We would also have in our developer’s agreement that KDR would have to hook into our water and sewer.”
KDR hopes to have everything in place to begin construction on the project by the time the ground thaws.
In the meantime, City Attorney Dan Sondalle said Monday that he will work with KDR and the city to craft a developer’s agreement that protects the city’s interests.
In other news
In other news from the Green Lake Common Council meeting:
The Common Council unanimously approved a park permit for a 175th-anniversary celebration in Deacon Mills Park for June 5 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
It also approved an agreement of services with the Creative Enterprise Center at Ripon College, which has been assisting the city in economic development efforts.
In addition, the Common Council approved a contract for grant writing services between the city and Robin Wallenfang. The Park & Recreation Board approved it last month, but it required council approval to become final. Wallenfang will start by applying for grants for the athletic field lighting project.
The Common Council discussed a $22,000 proposal to construct a security wall in the City Hall entrance, which would utilize federal American Rescue Plan dollars. However, Sondalle said the city needs to release the project for bidding because it exceeds $5,000, so the issue was tabled.