This week, City Administrator Kent Hager reported that Canadian National Railroad has signed the bill of sale and industry track agreement for the city to acquire an existing rail spur that leads to developable land on the east side of New London near Wolf River Lumber. Hager said, “We are getting close now. All we are waiting for is the easement assignment to be signed by CN in Montreal.”
CN had originally intended to abandon the spur and sell the rail for salvage.
Park Director Chad Hoerth and Administrator Hager spoke with representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and State Trails Coordinator Brigit Brown to clarify the city’s intentions with the project.
The city purchase of the spur will not only maintain a valuable rail service to industrial properties, it will also allow the city to move forward with a “rail with trail” proposal linking the Newton Blackmore State Trail into New London.
Work continues on block grant application
Kent Hager had begun work on a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application for the downtown river wall, alley and dock project. Hager received some tips from Department of Commerce representative Jim Frymark. Next he will schedule a public hearing as part of the grant application process as well as a resolution for council to approve the submission of the application. City Engineer Jeff Bodoh will be discussing the preparation of design plans and specifications for the project.
Economic development committee
The City Economic Development Committee recently met and was informed of a land inquiry in the North East New London Business Center. Realtor Sandy Flease reported that a land excavation company is interested in a parcel; however there is a concern with the covenants. The firm would utilize outside storage of machinery and equipment. Administrator Hager will inquire with the City Attorney about the procedures involved in amending the covenants and report back to the committee.
The committee expressed an interest in finding out more information on how Appleton used TIF financing for improvements to their river corridor area. Kent Hager will invite Jim Van Dyke, the Appleton Economic Development Specialist to visit with the committee about the topic at a future meeting.
Chairman Dave Morack gave a report to the committee on his networking experiences at the City of Waupaca Chamber Business Expo. While in attendance, he spoke with several firms including a “clean energy” company looking at their options to expand in the area. Hager will be contacting the firm to explain what the City of New London has to offer.
The committee reviewed a recent “Gap Analysis” report and found that iron and steel providers and machine shops are underrepresented in the local community. According to Bobbi Miller, Business Services Manager for the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board, the same industries stand out in the “cluster industries” analysis. It was noted that it may be beneficial to have our local industries participate in a round table discussion to identify “down stream” businesses that find it beneficial to locate here locally to serve their clients. The committee was given the example of a steel supplier, given the large number of steel consumers in our local industries.
Next month the committee will have Bob O’Donnell as the guest speaker. O’Donnell is the director of the UW-Oshkosh College of Business, Small Business Development Center.