City passes on county facility
Haberkorn Field remains proposed site for Waupaca’s Public Works
By Angie Landsverk
The city of Waupaca is not pursuing Waupaca County’s highway department property on East Fulton Street for the future site of its Public Works Department.
“We declined it,” Mayor Brian Smith told the Waupaca County Post.
Haberkorn Field thus remains the proposed site of the city’s Public Works facility.
The common council discussed the topic in closed session when it met on July 16.
The mayor said there were a number of reasons for the council’s decision.
Cost and timing were among them.
Smith said a tour of the property showed some areas are too large for the city’s needs.
Remodeling other areas to meet its needs would be too cost prohibitive, Smith said.
In addition, the city is not ready to move forward with its project yet, he said.
Smith said the city plans to construct the Public Works facility when other city debt falls off.
That is about five years from now.
During the closed session, Kathy Kasza indicated the city could borrow money to purchase the county property, Smith said.
Kasza is the city’s finance director/treasurer.
However, that would result in a property tax increase, he said.
In addition, the city would be sitting with a building it was not ready to do anything with for five years, he said.
City examines options
For more than 15 years, the city considered a number of properties for its future facility.
Its Public Works Department, along with the Parks Maintenance Department, currently operate out of five buildings.
The buildings are located throughout the central and east side of the city, with the average age of the buildings more than 60 years old.
The county highway department is set to move into its new facility on County Trunk A this year.
The city expressed interest in its 515 E. Fulton St. facility several years ago.
A memorandum of understanding was created.
In it, the county provided a funding allocation to the city’s Main Street STP fund.
The city then had exclusive rights to negotiate on the highway department facilities at both 515 and 600 E. Fulton St.
However, the county then indicated it would keep the facility to be used by the sheriff’s office.
That is why the city bought Haberkorn Field.
It bought that eight-acre parcel from the Waupaca School District in early 2018 for $155,000.
The city has budgeted $6.5 million for a new Public Works facility there.
Last winter, the county approached the city to see if it was still interested in purchasing its highway facility on East Fulton Street.
The mayor requested a review, and the city hired Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. in May to assess the property’s condition.
The study’s cost was not to exceed $12,575.
It was covered by using part of the $67,000 savings from the Evans Street project.
The oldest part of the highway department facility is between 83 and 86 years old.
The mayor said the office was built in the 1960s.
He said Director of Public Works Justin Berrens went over the report about the property’s condition during the closed session.
“They said no last night, and I think they mean no,” Smith said of the council’s decision.