Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The Common Council will move forward with making an offer to purchase the Baltus property at 110 S. Chestnut Ave.
The property is strategic as storage space for police vehicles, additional parking space in anticipation of the police station expansion, and future development of the 2nd Street corridor.
At its Sept. 17 meeting, the Plan Commission had unanimously rejected the proposal put forth by the Council, which had approved the item earlier but needed to bring it before the commission as required by state statute 62.23(5).
Alderman Tom Witzel questioned why the Council would approve the item after it was decided against by the Plan Commission. Mayor Bob McManus and Alderman Tom Buttke stated that the Economic Development Board had discussed acquiring the property for a year and had more information to make a decision.
The Plan Commission rejected the proposal after concerns about a lack of plan for the space and the potential cost of cleaning up contamination.
“We wanted to have them to do a review to make sure that there were no plans that were being violated by what we were suggesting, and I didn’t see any indication that there were,” said City Administrator Steve Barg. “As much as I respect them and their discussion, I think nothing came out of that that would take away from, in my mind anyway, what the Council’s intent was originally.”
Contamination was identified when tanks were removed in 1990, and in 2001 the DNR determined that the site was back to acceptable levels.
“We’ve dealt with these types of sites before in the past and they’re not something that you have to be afraid of. You go in with your eyes open and you’re aware of what you’re dealing with,” said Dan Knoeck, Public Works Director.
Weighing in on how the police department would use the property, Chief Rick Gramza stated that the police station currently has five garage stalls used by vehicles that are kept removed from the elements, including a detective vehicle and the ordinance van.
These secondary vehicles would be moved to the Baltus property, which has four quick access bays and another garage space that can accommodate 6-8 vehicles. First line squad cars could then fill the vacated spaces at the police station.
The motion to move forward with a purchase offer carried 8-1, with Alderman Ken Bargender voting no.