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Darlington considers apartments, business park land acquisition

POSTED August 25, 2017 12:19 p.m.

DARLINGTON – The Tuesday, August 15, 2017 Property and Insurance Committee meeting of the City of Darlington was called to order by committee chair John Sonsalla at 6:30 p.m.
Property and Insurance
    The Property and Insurance Committee had two items on the agenda to discuss. The first was the empty space above the Municipal Building. It was noted that there has been no interest, in six months, from the business sector to rent the large area. The space being discussed is approximately 8,000 square feet,
    Alder Don Osterday brought up converting and remodeling the area into apartments. Osterday came in with the question – is this feasible? What would be the costs with a remodel of that scope. Osterday has spoken to local contractors and their opinions varied. Other items mentioned included great location; baby boomers create a high demand for apartments; good winter job for construction crew, because it’s enclosed; is a sprinkler system needed; possible grant monies available; could TIF money be used; six to eight apartments maximum. Osterday asked, “Is this a priority or should we be looking at expanding our business park? We need some long range planning.”
    Sonsalla said, “The question we have here tonight is – do we want to pursue a cost analysis study and who will do that and how much do we want to spend – that’s the first step.” Osterday said, “It’s a tough question. Where do you start? Plumbing is a big question, heating – does each unit need to have their own unit or can the existing heat be zoned for each apartment.” Adler Steve Pickett said, “I think we need to bring in an architect to design a plan and tell us how much will it cost, but that will cost us $10,000 - $15,000.” Sonsalla said, “We need to know what’s the cost to do it and what’s the pay back going to be.”
    Phil Risseeuw, Darlington Clerk-Treasurer, said, “We can send out a request for proposals to engineering firms.” Finally a motion was made to send out a request for proposals to engineering firms. Approved.
Business Park Land
    Next, a discussion was held regarding expanding the business park. The current business park started with 35 acres in 1996, in 2004 thirty acres was added. It was mention that the park is pretty well filled. The park was established as TIF#6 in Oct. 2002.
    The committee had many questions, opinions and discussion. Breunig’s opinion was to look into purchasing 40 acres to add on to the business park. A motion was made to have the city attorney, Bill McDaniel, contact the land owners and discuss a price for land to add to the business park. The amount of acres was left negotiable. It was noted that the new land, if that should move ahead, would not be part of the TIF.
Council meeting
    •Rock house on Spring Street was brought. McDaniel stated they had until Sept. 1, 2017 before the city would take action razing the building. (Note: Days later, in a private conversation with house owner Ted Thuli, it was stated by Thuli that he hand delivered a letter to city inspector Mike Reuter, McDaniel and Mayor Breunig - outlining his plans, problems with finding a contractor and protecting/saving the history of our city. Since then construction has begun on the property. Thuli said the house was built in the 1860’s and is one of the oldest structures in southwest Wisconsin.)
    In Other Business:
    •Approved resolution 2017-07, a resolution to amend official traffic map of the City of Darlington, 3-1 with Pickett voting nay. This will replace a yield sign with a stop sign at the intersection of Madison and North Street and will effect the north and south traffic on Madison Street. The change was requested by Dennis and Karla Wall.
    •Approved a financial statements for the City, Water Dept. and Sewer Dept.

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