Hortonville to continue designing green space
By Scott Bellile
The Hortonville Village Board approved putting a “for sale” sign back on the former Main Street library while also continuing to develop a green space design for the lot in the event the property doesn’t sell.
Village President Traci Martens said at the board’s Aug. 6 meeting that she has received inquiries from interested buyers. Because awareness of the vacant library is out there, and because an improving economy means more prospective business owners are searching for buildings, the village will not hire a realtor to market the property.
A schematic design for green space will continue to be developed for use if the library is ultimately razed. If the library sells, then no green space will be built there and the schematic design could be brought to life elsewhere in the village.
The building was previously for sale after the library moved to the Hortonville Municipal Services Center, which opened in summer 2014. The “for sale” sign will return until the village has the money to raze the building, which could be spring or summer 2016.
The board passed the motion 3-2, with trustees Al Habeck and Dawn Vollbrecht voting against and Tori Mann abstaining.
Habeck said residents have been asking him when the building will finally be demolished. The building is in too poor of shape to justify keeping it up, he said.
“We have five buildings downtown that are empty. Why have another one?” Habeck asked.
Trustee Peter Olk disagreed, saying the building’s problems could be overcome. Other buildings in the village are structurally worse, he said, and selling the library would be cheaper than paying to raze it.
“This is a salvageable piece of property,” Olk said.
Trustee Kelly Schleif supported putting a “for sale” sign in the window while the building remains up and vacant, but he said he selling it will be a challenge.
“You can knock that building down and you could start again probably cheaper than you would to try and fix that thing up and bring it back to code,” Schleif said.
Martens said the village has received backlash from community members who are upset that the village has considered taking down “a piece of history.”
“The history of that is long gone,” Habeck replied. “The history of that was a gas station. That’s long gone.”
Martens said she doesn’t see the harm in trying to sell the building for a while longer.
“If we’re getting comments from the citizens that we didn’t give it its full effort, I want them to know that we [did].”
As part of the motion that was approved, the village will require extra information from prospective buyers because the building rests at a focal point in town. Any offer for the building must be accompanied with a business plan and a to-be-determined developer’s agreement on how the building would be brought back up to code.
Village saves on roadwork
The village board unanimously approved hiring Appleton-based paving contractor MCC to pave the final layer of Towne Road before the school year begins.
One other paving company submitted an estimate of approximately $29,000, or $80 per ton, to do the job. MCC will do the job for nearly half that: $16,263, or $62 per ton.
“Lucky for us, MCC is going to be doing the parking lot over at the high school,” Public Works Director Carl McCrary said. “So we were able to piggyback off of them … It’s an incredibly good price. I haven’t seen a price like that in two or three years.”
The Hortonville Area School District hired MCC in June to convert the district’s old bus garage site next to the high school auditorium into parking for $102,587.
Hortonville first responders presented the village an automated external defibrillator for use in the Hortonville Municipal Services Center in the event of an emergency.
First responder Karl Arps said he read in village board minutes the village was looking to purchase a defibrillator, which typically costs hundreds or thousands of dollars. His wife suggested the first responders donate one.
“The more AEDs we’ve got in the community, the better for the community,” Arps said.
The board approved the donation this spring. The money used to pay for it came from donations made by businesses as well as from family of residents the first responders have helped in the past.
“It’s beneficial just because of the time it takes to get us on-scene,” said Brent Servin, director of Hortonville’s first responders.
“The first three minutes are the most critical, and depending on where an officer is, they may not even be in town depending on what’s going on,” Hortonville Police Chief Mike Sullivan said.
The next step will be to train building employees on how to use it.