From a public relations standpoint, the New Holstein Economic Development Corporation is a lot like the businesses it is trying to help—there is a lot going on behind the scenes, but the work it is doing is not always ready to be publicized.
A group of interested business people and community residents has been working for years as the EDC with one clear goal in mind—to bring new businesses to the community. It works in conjunction with other organizations including the New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce, which focuses on helping existing businesses; and the City of New Holstein and its Community Development Authority.
The primary focus of the EDC over the last couple years is development of Marketplatz, the name it came up with for the former Tecumseh Products Company site.
To the person driving past the former factory, it would appear nothing has changed over the past year; again, behind the scenes nothing could be further from the truth.
Trying to gain city ownership
The property is still owned by a private individual, but a big step of progress in the past year came when the New Holstein Common Council officially requested that Calumet County execute a tax foreclosure on the property and subsequently turn over ownership to the City of New Holstein. The clock is now running for Calumet County to either do that or assume ownership itself.
Ownership by the city would clear the way for the EDC to lead the way down several other paths.
The EDC has had ongoing discussions with officials of Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. of Chilton to perhaps renovate and occupy the back and newest portion of the former Tecumseh building, about 100,000 square feet of the 400,000 square foot building. Briess would use the building for storage of products and ingredients for its malting operations.
Increasing the value of the property through a tenant or partial development could prove crucial as the subsequent increase in property value would help fund a Tax Increment Finance district which, in turn, would help with the cost of razing the former factory building. The EDC and city officials have continued to work closely with the Department of Natural Resources on the wrapping up of the clean-up process in the area and it believed no environmental concerns should get in the way of development of the site.
Demolition grant possible
Later this year, the EDC also is hoping to apply for a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation toward expected demolition of some or all of the former Tecumseh building.
With the help of the regional development business Stadtmueller & Associates, the EDC continues to have the vision of Marketplatz being built around the themes of the craft beer and wine industries with an Old World Germany architectural feel. “It is a potential lucrative direction because of the availability of resources and the growing of breweries,” said Dan Schneider, president of the EDC and owner of Schneider & Schneider Construction in New Holstein.
Jon Weir, the executive director of the EDC and its only paid (part time) employee, agrees. “It’s an industry which has its arms in a lot of other industries,” Weir said.
The master development plan was officially adopted by the Common Council in September, another step of progress in the past year.
Among other actions to advance that theme in the past year, the EDC sponsored Sheboygan’s 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. at Night on the Town in July for free beer tasting in Civic Park, and it also sent Weir to Portland, Ore. to network at a national craft brewing convention. Conversations also have taken place with Lakeshore Technical College regarding the possible future creation of a home
Turn to NHED C/page 31 A