Proceeds from sale of 54 acres could finance Port High athletic field project
The Port Washington-Saukville School Board has shelved plans to market 54.5 acres of farmland on the city’s west side because it has received an unsolicited offer to purchase the property that is too good to ignore.
After meeting in closed session Monday, the board voted to counter the offer, which Supt. Michael Weber characterized as attractive.
The district’s counteroffer will address language and contingencies, not the purchase price, which the board believes is fair, said Weber, who declined to name the prospective buyer or comment further on the offer because negotiations are ongoing.
“The board is ready to accept the monetary offer pending some language it wants reworked,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to wrap this up pretty quickly now.”
Weber said he expects the board to vote on a final offer at its Oct. 10 meeting.
The district has not released a recent appraisal of the property, but given the land’s location, it is thought to be a valuable site for residential development. Located north of Grand Avenue and east of Highway LL, it is flanked by subdivisions on three sides — Spinnaker West to the south, The Woods at White Pine to the west and Lake Ridge to the east — and bordered by farmland to the north.
Proceeds from the sale of the land — conceivably worth somewhere in the mid to high six figures — will likely be used to make improvements to Port Washington High School’s outdoor athletic complex, Weber said.
“This is very exciting,” he said. “I think everybody will be quite happy. We’re putting property back on the tax rolls and providing an ideal site for homes that will bring families into the community and children into our schools.”
In May, a year after the approval of a $49.4 million referendum that reflects the board’s commitment to renovating and expanding its current schools rather than building new ones, officials decided it was time to sell the land the district has owned for 47 years.
The district purchased the property, which is comprised of two parcels, in January 1969 from Elmer and Myrtle Bley for $149,944.
Since then it has been seen as a site of a future school, but as the city developed around it and the needs of schools changed, it became a less desirable school site. And with the approval of a referendum that provides $46.5 million to modernize the high school and $3.8 million to expand Dunwiddie Elementary School, officials said it was time put the property on the market.
The board requested proposals from real estate brokers and received two, but plans to list the property changed and the timeline for the sale of the property accelerated after the district received the unsolicited offer — prompted, Weber said, by Ozaukee Press articles on the district’s decision to sell the land.
The pending sale comes at a good time for the district because while the referendum is financing building improvements, it does not include money for outdoor high school athletic facilities.
Officials envision a fairly sweeping project that would include the replacement of the grass football field with artificial turf, new lighting and sound systems and a press box. The project could be expanded to include artificial turf and other improvements to the baseball diamonds and track and field facilities.
The land sale proceeds, which have not yet been formally earmarked for the project, would add to what the PWSSD Foundation Inc. is working to raise for the improvements. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that while independent of the district is working closely with it to raise individual and corporate donations for school improvements.