With no parcels left in industrial park, officials weigh their land options in adjacent communities
Village of Fredonia officials admit they have squeezed as much as possible out of their industrial park on South Milwaukee Street.
Now, the village’s Economic Development Committee said last week, it is time to broaden the search.
Public Works Director Roger Strohm told the committee that representatives from a local company recently asked him if there are 20 acres available anywhere in the village that could be used for a new manufacturing facility.
“I had to say, ‘Not really,’” Strohm said. “The fact is, farmland isn’t cheap to come by anymore.”
With that challenge, Village President Don Dohrwardt said it may be time to look into options like working out border agreements with adjacent townships, so agricultural land can be converted into industrial use.
Another option, Dohrwardt said, might be for the village to purchase outlying land and swapping it with landowners who are currently farming on parcels adjacent to the industrial park.
“At this point we are just throwing ideas up in the air. Our best option might be land along Highway 57 that have railroad access,” he said.
Those criteria might place the focus for land near Hickory Valley Road, west of Highway 57.
Such options, committee members agreed, are limited unless they find willing property owners with large parcels available.
Committee members then turned their focus on vacant and under-used commercial properties, especially along Fredonia Avenue.
Dohrwardt said there should be some way to designate that entire area as a tax-incremental financing district, so that the village could offer financial assistance to property owners who are interested in redevelopment.
“It is a possibility. It may be blue-sky thinking, but we have to do something soon,” he said.
“Our whole downtown is kind of falling by the wayside.”