Tax district to encourage development
By Holly Neumann
The city of Manawa is moving forward with the creation of Tax Incremental District No. 3.
“The TID No. 3 was first discussed as a way to bring new commercial business to the city and clean up the area which contained an old dilapidated building with an environmental restriction which was placed on the deed when it was sold many years ago,” Mayor John Smith said. “Without the TID, this company nor any other company would have looked at this site with the deed restrictions, so it was very important to have the TID in place.”
The district is north of the Little Wolf River and will include the former Little Wolf Automotive property and south to the veterinary clinic, then east across State Highway 110/22 from the Thunder’n property to and including Remington’s Quality Foods.
Smith said the move is good for Manawa and the business owners currently in the city.
“The purpose of creating this TID is to assist a developer with the needed infrastructure to build a business,” he said.
Since becoming the mayor, Smith has been working to bring new business to the city.
“I have contacted several hardware stores, lumber yards, Anytime Fitness and two other fitness centers and Family Dollar as they were already coming into Manawa to show interest for years before I was elected,” Smith said. “The only one to commit to our city was Dollar General.”
One of the first steps was creating the Manawa Downtown Revitalization Committee.
“We needed to gain information as to where our local residents were shopping and what they were shopping for, so we contacted the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation and UW-Extension for guidance,” said Smith. “With the assistance of these two organizations, we were able to find out that over 60 percent of our local residents were shopping outside of our market area.”
The next step was to find out what and where they were shopping.
“With that knowledge, we were able to determine which businesses we could support and possibly would enhance our current businesses by keeping people shopping local,” he said. “The Dollar Store or variety store was one that stood out, and I had already been in contact with them.”
Dollar General will be located at 103 S. Bridge St., which is the old Sturm’s Butter plant.
“The site where Dollar General will build will undergo a large-scale transformation,” Smith said.
Other than the far south end, the building will be demolished.
“This area will have a new grade set to it and be prepped for the new development,” Smith said.
More environmental tests will be conducted to ensure the contaminated area did not expand.
“We will be looking at how much dirt needs to be removed from the building site and determine if we can clean the contaminated area up completely and remove the deed restrictions for that site,” Smith said.
The city of Manawa was awarded a grant valued up to $240,000, which is not part of the TID funds.
The far south end of the building will be saved and renovated into a city garage.
“Our current garage is far too small and poses some safety concerns for our Department of Public Works crew,” he said. “We also have a tractor garage that we keep equipment in, and it is getting to a point of needing some work so we can move all of the equipment into the new garage.”
Currently, city pickups stay outside. Now with the additional space, they will be brought inside. The city hopes it will extend the life of the vehicles.
“This will save the city the cost of building a new city garage while providing the much needed space we have been seeking,” Smith said.
The land is set to be turned over to the developer by the end of the second week of April and construction of the building will begin then.
“If all goes well, the keys will be turned over to Dollar General by the middle of August,” said Smith.
According to Smith, the assessed value of the current building is roughly $52,000, while the new building is estimated at $700,000. The difference between the old and the new tax base will used to make the TID payment.
“Generally set for 20 years and it appears this will be paid off in 17 years,” he said. “This is a plan that is reviewed by the Joint Review Board, which consists of members from the city, Waupaca County, Fox Valley Tech and the school district, all with equal input and voting power. As with a TID, all taxing entities are affected as they do not lose any value, but they also do not gain the extra value until the TID is paid in full.”