Village will begin talks to buy land that may bolster business park

By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Fredonia Village Board voted Thursday, Aug. 15, to direct the Plan Commission to begin negotiations to purchase two acres in the business park on South Milwaukee Street that officials hope will make an adjacent acre of village-owned land more marketable.

In a related move, the board also directed the Plan Commission to solicit proposals from real-estate firms to help the village expand its economic base.

Fern Rathsack, who owns the two-acre undeveloped parcel, told officials she would “entertain a fair offer” for the site.

Rathsack’s land abuts a one-acre village-owned parcel that also contains a wetland area that limits its development potential.

Trustee Joshua Haas, who is chairman of the Economic Development Committee, said the one-acre lot by itself could accommodate nothing larger than a 20,000-square-foot building.

Rathsack owned the property with her husband Bob, a former Northern Ozaukee School District educator and School Board member, as well as a Village Board member. He died in October 2017.

On the other matter,  the board’s decision is a follow-up to its vote on Aug. 1 to reject a proposal to contract with Newmark Knight Frank Real Estate Services (NKF) to research the availability of land in and around the village for industrial development.

Some trustees balked at paying $75,000 up front as an advance against future sales commissions. 

Both decisions align with the Economic Development Committee to be “extremely laser focused” on its primary purpose, Haas said, and not be so involved in branding or marketing the village.

“We want to communicate more with the businesses and the Chamber (of Commerce),” he told trustees last week. “We want to ask them, ‘What do you need us to do,’ instead of telling them what we’re going to do.

“You’re going to see a much more slimmed-down agenda” at future committee meetings, Haas said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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