GRAFTON — The
village of Grafton is backing off from the 114-acre business park
proposal that’s been under discussion the past six weeks.
Plans for an
industrial business park were first introduced publicly during the
Jan. 15 Grafton Village Board meeting. MLG, a commercial real estate
and development firm, proposed the development for property off Ulao
Road and Highway C. The land is currently in the town, not directly
adjacent to the village.
The plans MLG
and the village began discussing last month included MLG purchasing
the land, and the village annexing the property and establishing a
tax incremental finance district for the business park to fund
millions of dollars in infrastructure for the development. In TIF
districts, property taxes collected for new development within the
district stay within the district to fund development, rather than
going to the normal taxing authorities, such as school districts or
Village President Jim Brunnquell confirmed that the village is
stepping away from the project. He has commented several times
previously that he was not convinced about the site chosen for the
business park and that particular land use there, as well as saying
Grafton – both the village and town – is a community without
“I think we
made the right decision to step away,” Brunnquell said.
Over the past
several weeks, there has been consistent objections to the proposed
development from many town residents. Their concerns revolved
largely around the loss of a location that could be prime
residential real estate and the impact a large business park could
have on the traffic, safety and value of the surrounding area.
communities working together,” Brunnquell said. A Facebook page and
online petition for town residents were formed opposing the
development. The Grafton Town Board also passed a resolution
formally opposing village intent to annex the 114-acre parcel.
pleased to hear that (the village is not proceeding),” Town Chairman
Lester Bartel said Friday.
“We want to
express our appreciation to Jim (Brunnquell), the board and the
entire village staff for taking a second look at it, and acting in
the best interest of the entire community.”
There was also
an online petition for village residents to sign objecting to the
proposed use of TIF districting in the business park plan. Because
TIF districts hold property within the district separate from the
rest of the tax roll, they provide no relief to tax districts in
For the village,
some money has already been spent on the project. A firm was hired
for survey and engineering work to determine what improvements would
be needed for village infrastructure for the project, as well as a
financial consultant to lay groundwork for the TIF.
from MLG did not return calls for comment from the News Graphic.
<<EARLIER: Village approves contract to market business park