Purchase would bring Wiouwash into village
By Scott Bellile
The Village of Hortonville is exploring the possibility of purchasing seven acres of land that would be instrumental in connecting the Wiouwash State Trail to central Hortonville.
Last month Public Works Director Carl McCrary informed the village board that the children of the late village board member Richard Hunt asked the village if they were interested in purchasing Hunt’s land. The land is a key part in Hortonville’s future plans.
“The end goal is to bring the Wiouwash around the east side of Black Otter Lake, connecting it with Alonzo Park and the schools,” McCrary said. “We eventually would like to see it tied into the new trail that is supposed to come to Hortonville from Greenville along the new Highway 15 cooridor.”
If the village pursues the property sale, it could apply for a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program grant that is offered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for conservation efforts. As part of the grant’s conditions, the village must hire a DNR-certified appraiser to put a value on the land.
“This piece of property is one of the key pieces for us to bring the Wiouwash trail around the east side, and the only way we can get the grant is to do the assessment,” Village President Traci Martens said.
McCrary agreed. He said Richard Hunt offered to sell the land to Hortonville while he was alive for prices the village considered too high.
“Before we can offer a price, we need to have this assessed,” McCrary said. “If we’re going to entertain the idea, we have to know what it’s worth.”
The village board on Aug. 6 approved exploring the cost for a DNR appraisal. McCrary said on Tuesday, Sept. 1 that the village is still searching for DNR-certified appraisers and hasn’t received an estimate on the land’s value.
Because the property is wetland, McCrary said the village likely would be permitted to do little on the land other than mow and possibly construct a parking lot.
Richard Hunt died on July 11, 2015 at the age of 76, according to his obituary. He operated the Polar Bear Inn in Hortonville for 23 years until retiring in 2005. An active community member, he was involved with the village board, Hortonville Lions Club, Commercial Club and Hortonville/Hortonia Fire Department.
Richard’s living wife Rudy plans to move out of state, McCrary said.