City looking into purchase of downtown Baltus property
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – The city of Marshfield will begin work on an offer to purchase the Baltus property at the corner of Second Street and South Chestnut Avenue in Marshfield.
On Sept. 10, aldermen came out of closed session and voted 7-2 to direct city staff to draft the offer for the Baltus Express Lube property at 110 South Chestnut Ave., Marshfield.
“We started having dialogue with John Baltus back in spring of 2018,” Barg recalled. “It sounds like he approached us and let it be known that he was looking at selling. This was back in the day where some of the conversations were more active on the Second Street Corridor. We’d (completed) the part from Maple to Chestnut – that two-block stretch – but we were talking for a while if we could extend that someday west of Chestnut over to Steven Miller Park. We thought it might be an important piece to the city. We’ve had conversation off and on since then.”
Barg said that the property could have a number of possibilities.
“It offers us both the possibility of the Second Street Corridor someday and as you know, after some study the council kind of embraced the idea that when we do expand the police station someday, we would want to do it onsite,” Barg said.
“We looked at about a half dozen other sites, but the cost of building a new police station, I think most people would consider it daunting, the numbers we saw. So, the thought of renovating and expanding on the current site is something that is highly looked at and highly thought of. So, when that day comes, if we do expand the building to the south, that public parking to the south is going to be reduced.”
“It could be parking; we definitely need parking at the (Wenzel) plaza,” Mayor Bob McManus added. “It is kind of an ancillary thing; it’s threefold. It will be at the end there, so depending on what we do with that corridor. It could be parking as well, and we need to do something for the police department expansion. This could fit in there.”
Barg added that one of the things that the city wants for the police department, aside from expanded facilities, is to provide some shelter for the vehicles which now leaves the vehicles vulnerable to the public and weather elements.
No matter what use the city pursues for the property, Barg said now is the time to take action.
“It is available now, because John (Baltus) is looking to sell, so it seemed like the time to have the conversation,” Barg said.
With the Sept. 10 vote, city staff was authorized to execute an offer to purchase for $250,000; however, the action is subject to approval by the Plan Commission at their Sept. 17 meeting.
The city is looking to close on the property in 2020.
Aldermen Ken Bargender and Peter Hendler voted no to the deal.