Property transactions were the primary focus of Tuesday's Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. In addition to the approval of a lease with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for the granary, other transactions were discussed. Coming out of last week's Finance Committee meeting, the council unanimously approved the sale of a 3.16-acre parcel of land to Crossroads at Big Creek for one dollar. The city gained the property in 1977, and it is restricted to public use. Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak says there are two primary easements on the property, one related to electric transmission lines operated by ATC and another concerning underground fiber optic cable laid by AT&T. Council member Helen Bacon says the land has marginal value for the city.
Crossroads hopes to use the property for signage near the roundabout at Highway 42/57 and Michigan Street. There are plans to connect walking paths to the Ahnapee State Trail, which makes up a portion of the newly acquired property. Crossroads also promises to control invasive species to keep them from taking root on the rest of the preserve. The vote was unanimous.
There was also a discussion about purchasing the old Bank Mutual Building on Egg Harbor Road. The property is currently in foreclosure, and Olejniczak estimates that roughly $15,000 is owed in taxes. Mayor David Ward reminded the council that a percentage of property tax revenue is allocated to the city, so Sturgeon Bay's actual cost is around $10,000 or two-thirds of the total. Olejniczak said a phase one environmental study has already been conducted on the property without any concerns noted.
The city already has an adjacent parcel and hopes to pair the two together to attract a developer. Olejniczak says the only real liability comes with potential costs to tear down the existing bank branch if it cannot be repurposed. Councilmember Spencer Gustafson said that the location is ideal for new senior housing. It is close to both the ADRC building and the Cherry Point Mall, which has several tenants who cater to that demographic. The panel approved the measure unanimously, aiming to close on the property before the end of this year.