Site of future public works facility
By Angie Landsverk
The city of Waupaca is buying Haberkorn Field from the Waupaca School District for the future site of a public works facility.
The common council approved the purchase when it met on Nov. 7.
“Looking forward to this,” Mayor Brian Smith said.
Steve Hackett abstained from the vote, as he is also a member of the Waupaca School Board.
Alan Kjelland was absent. The other eight members of the council voted in favor of the motion.
The city is buying the eight-acre parcel from the school district for $155,000.
The listing price was $200,000.
Justin Berrens, the city’s director of public works, said the city had been negotiating the purchase of the property for a few weeks.
The property is between Lakemen Field and the city’s Water Department Garage, which are owned by the city.
District Administrator Greg Nyen said the school board voted in open session on Nov. 9 to accept the city’s offer.
The city expects to close on the property in late January.
Construction of a facility for the city’s Public Works Department is anticipated to take place around 2023-25, depending on the city’s budget and capital, Berrens said.
The issue of space for the Public Works Departments, as well as other city departments, came up nearly 20 years ago, he told the council.
In 1999, the city hired McMahon and Associates to conduct a Facility Needs Study on all city-owned buildings.
That study brought up a number of concerns regarding the Public Works facilities.
It noted the average age of the buildings was more than 50, most of them had questionable conditions and the layout resulted in inefficiencies for the department.
As a result, the city created an Ad Hoc Committee in 2000, with the committee then prioritizing the city’s building needs as police department renovation followed by the acquisition of the Hendrickson Center for the Parks and Recreation Department and then the consolidation of the Public Works facilities.
“The first two have been completed. The third one has not been done,” Berrens said.
He noted another report on just the Public Works facilities took place in 2013.
That report had many of the same concerns with the conditions of the buildings and the inefficiencies.
The city’s 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 today being more than 60 years old.
During the last 15 years, the city looked at a number of properties for a future Public Works facility.
Berrens said Haberkorn Field is the best fit for the department.
It is centrally located and has enough space to accommodate the department’s buildings and operations, he said.
Berrens also said it will not remove property from the tax roll.
When asked about if the city’s plans for Haberkorn Field will affect Lakemen Field, he said it will not.
Lakemen Field will continue operating as it is, Berrens said.
He said when a new parking lot is built in the future for the Public Works facility, it could be shared by Lakemen Field.
The city’s purchase of Haberkorn Field means it will get everything associated with it.
That includes the lights, stands and bathrooms.
Berrens said this means the city will have to make decisions about what to do with those items.
Once the city owns the property, it will also be responsible for its maintenance, he said.
In addition, Berrens said he will work with Aaron Jenson, the city parks and recreation director, regarding events that could take place on the field before the Public Works facility is constructed there.