Wetland study moves Highway 60 business park along

By Christina Luick

Aug. 15, 2019

 The areas in blue indicate the parcels that could be used for a north side business park.
Image courtesy of the city of Cedarburg

CEDARBURG — The potential north-side business park development took another step forward at the Cedarburg Common Council meeting Monday.

The council approved a contract with Ruekert & Mielke to conduct a wetland delineation for the potential Highway 60 business park at a cost of $16,650 and splitting the cost 50/50 with the Baehmann Family, who has property that is part of the project.

The council in July approved a $10,500 contract with the municipal infrastructure firm to conduct an updated construction cost estimate for the project.

These contracts come after a number of years of postponing the project.

Preliminary engineering studies were done by the city in 2006, but the project was postponed due to a downturn of the economy.

The boundary of the location for the potential business park includes two parcels, according to a letter from Ruekert & Mielke to Public Works Director Tom Wiza. One parcel is adjacent to Highway 60, is approximately 59 acres and is owned by the city. The second parcel adjacent to Washington Avenue at about 57 acres is owned by the Baehmann Family Trust.

Wiza said it makes sense to resolve this early in order to determine how much of the land is developable and the value per acre for a potential tax incremental financing district.

“It’ll even impact the cost estimate because you have to look at how you’re going to lay out roads and things like that,” he said. “So from a staff perspective, we’d like to see that delineation move ahead.”

Two-thirds of the area of interest is owned by the Baehmann family and they are responsible for paying a part of the wetland delineation. The wetland delineation contract was postponed at the July meeting to give the Baehmann family more time to look into it.

“This is the logical next step to get this thing moving,” Council member Jack Arnett said, adding that he wanted to clarify that the TIF district does not necessarily have to include all of the Baehmann parcel.

The wetland delineation would help pin down development yield — a project’s net operating income — which is important when evaluating the viability of a tax incremental finance district, according to the council packet. In a tax incremental financing district, money that would have been paid in property taxes to the city and other taxing districts goes back to pay for the improvements of the district.

“The (Baehmann) parcel is included because the potential proposed street pattern would connect to Hilltop Drive to complete a loop, and the additional acreage may be necessary to provide positive cash flow for a potential tax increment district,” according to the letter from Ruekert & Mielke to Wiza. “The next step in this project is to determine whether a tax increment district is a feasible approach to moving forward.”

“We would like to include our land in with the city to create a new TIF district and to move this business part forward,” said Kurt Baehmann, who was representing the Baehmann family and Baehmann Golf Center, which is located on the property.

When asked if the delineation would interfere with Baehmann’s business, he said he has been speaking with the engineer who is willing to work with him.

Baehmann Golf Center has been in business for 60 years. Baehmann said they plan to keep the business at its location as it will probably take a few years to begin development.

He said in time as development begins, they plan on minimizing the acreage and adapting the business to something that is still an entertainment facility. He added that they are still figuring out what the future is going to look like for Baehmann Golf Center.

“I just wanted to let people know the business isn't going anywhere,” Baehmann said.

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