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City council approves sale of property to MOWA

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The West Bend Common Council pulled the trigger Monday night on the sale of a very visible and valuable parcel of property in the downtown West Bend business district.


On an 4-3 vote the council agreed to sell 1.2 acres on Veterans Avenue to the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The decision was dicey because the location in a TIF district carries a heavy debt of $12,621,667.


Keeping the property green space will provide little in the way of revenue, however Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said sometimes it’s not all about the money.


“The downtown area has gone through a complete rejuvenation over the past five years in large part by MOWA’s decision to invest here,” he said.


“Being that MOWA and the property to the south is in a TIF district, the council and I have been careful to balance the financial responsibilities of the TIF with the benefits to MOWA and the community.”


One key factor of note, MOWA is a tax exempt entity.


The process to come to a final decision on the parcel has been going on 10 years. Within the last six months the property became a hot potato after two offers were made to purchase. One offer was from a developer who was proposing a multi-level senior house complex and the other was from a local philanthropist who wanted to keep the area green space.


“MOWA and those speaking on their behalf have been very understanding of the decision process the council has gone through,” said Sadownikow and have, yet again, committed significant additional investment to the city of West Bend.”


Sadownikow said he “supported the decision made tonight by the council.”


“I fully understand the benefits to this sale may not show up in a TIF District financial report,” he said. “Rather, the benefits will be seen in an enhanced museum, increased quality of life and an even more vibrant downtown area. All of this will lead to additional private investment in West Bend.”


Details involved in the agreement are below:

-Land Purchase Price – $35,000
-PILOT – $150,000 per year for 5 years totaling $750,000
-$65,000 grant to Parks which has been earmarked for the East Bank River Revitalization project
-The existing Dumpster corral will be maintained by MOWA instead of the city
-The existing drive and parking will remain as city property and maintained as such for the benefit of the Public & MOWA
-The city maintains a first right of refusal should the property be sold to an unrelated entity

The three alderman voting against the sale to MOWA included alderman Steve Hutchins, Chris Jenkins and Adam Williquette. Dist. 8 alderman Roger Kist had an excused absence.

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