WEST BEND — The Washington County Board is taking steps towards the remediation and development of another brownfield site after Wednesday’s board meeting.
Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the transfer of a parcel of land located at 308-310 Oak Street in Slinger to Forward Contractors, LLC and entered into a redevelopment agreement. The location is the former site of the Schaefer Organ Company and recently Niphos Coatings, Inc.
Forward Contractors plans to develop the property for residential use, which is the village’s preferred type of development.
Washington County took possession of the site in 2015 through a tax foreclosure. The county purchased the property for $5,000.
In 2012, hazardous materials were discovered inside the main building, resulting in removal action by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. More than 8,800 gallons of hazardous chemicals had been abandoned inside the building.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources performed assessments of the site in 2013 and supplemental site investigations took place in 2016 by the county. The supplemental investigations found various contaminants in the soil and groundwater likely due to past industrial activities.
The site is part of the Washington County brownfields program, which works to redevelop, expand or reuse sites which may have the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.
Limited soil remediation was performed in 2018. The county removed contaminated soil and placed an 18-inch clean cover to address direct contact issues in unpaved areas.
In May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded Washington County $800,000 to assess and clean contaminated properties under the brownfields program.
Sale of 40-acre Hartford site approved
The supervisors also unanimously authorized the sale of a 40-acre site known as the Joseph P. Marx Conservancy Area located along Highway 83 in Hartford. There has been multiple offers to purchase the property.
Funds will be designated to the Park Enterprise Fund for future land improvements and acquisitions.
In 2017, the Parks Fiscal Sustainability Plan 2018-2020 was enacted, which called for the sale of non-priority properties to fund strategic improvements and acquisitions. One of the plan’s goals is to make the county’s park system independent of the property tax levy.
County Attorney Brad Stern explained that an offer the resolution was intended to address “has waivered.”
“However, there are a couple of additional offers now that the department is considering that I think are going to end up being favorable at some point for the county to consider and accept,” said Stern. The county is in the negotiation stages.
Passing the resolution allows the county to engage in negotiations and gives authority to sell the property to a buyer without needing to go back to the board next month.