MaryAnn Winter of West Bend waits to cross Water Street
with her dog,
Cheyanne, near the former Gehl site on Dec. 11 in West
John Ehlke/Daily News
WEST BEND — The city’s Common Council on Monday could
approve the first step in seeking $500,000 in state
funding to help redevelop a currently vacant former
factory site on West Bend’s near east side.
Total costs to refurbish the 8-acre parcel where the
former Gehl Manufacturing center once stood at the
corner of South Forest Avenue and Water Street could
total about $2 million, City Administrator Jay Shambeau
The potential half-million-dollar grant from the
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s idle sites
redevelopment program could help cover about a quarter
of that cost. Shambeau said the city plans to recoup
other expenses through local tax incremental district
reimbursements tied to any future development on the
“We’re hopeful that this spurs that next conversation
with the next developer,” Shambeau said.
The council could approve a resolution as early as
Monday night to begin pursuing the grant funding. The
state economic development corporation says its idle
sites program offers grants up to $500,000 to help
redevelop areas that have been “idle, abandoned or
underutilized” for at least five years.
Shambeau told a reporter Friday the land has gone unused for about a
decade, and has sat almost completely vacant since the
city razed the previous manufacturing facility a few
years ago. All that’s left now are concrete slabs
occupying most of the property. Redeveloping the site,
though, would require more than just tearing up those
“It’s not only to remove the concrete but to also
improve the road and the utilities,” Shambeau said of
eventual refurbishment plans — plans he said the city
would only move forward on if it secures a developer to
build something new on the property.
Developers have shown interest in the land before,
though Shambeau said previous proposals to build
multifamily housing on the site have fallen through.
“We’ve heard rumblings of, I’ll say new interest, in
that property,” the city administrator said, though he
noted no firm proposals have materialized yet.