June 26, 2014
Focus on Stoughton
Kettle Park West plans approved, but still in limbo
Council waiting for impact analysis
Unified Newspaper Group
The proposed Kettle Park West commercial develop-ment continues to be debated in the community and at the Common Council.Plans have been stalled since March, when the Com-mon Council voted to put further approvals on hold until an economic impact analysis has been completed.The analysis is a required component of the city’s big box ordinance, and the For-ward Development Group has yet to provide the firm conducting the analysis with information it has requested for the study.“Economic impact study materials have still not been delivered to Maxfield,” the firm the city has hired to do the analysis, said planning director Rodney Scheel. “The development group, including their retailers, have not supplied the infor-mation requested yet.”The Common Council still has to create a tax-increment financing district. It asked the Plan Commission not to approve a Specific Develop-ment Plan for KPW until the city has received an indepen-dent analysis for the project.The council approved a development agreement with the Forward Development Group in late January.Some of the controversial project’s strongest support-ers have said they will not support moving forward with the KPW develop-ment if an impact analysis indicates it would harm the city’s economy. Supporters doubt that will happen, how-ever, while some opponents believe it could have a nega-tive effect on some existing businesses.The development agree-ment approved by the council Jan. 28 calls for building four retail/com-mercial buildings, includ-ing a 153,000-square-foot Wal-Mart SuperCenter, on 35 acres at the northwest corner of U.S. Hwy. 51 and state Hwy. 138. The plan includes $5.1 million in tax-increment financing for the project.TIF is a form of taxpayer assistance that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects. It combines reve-nues from all taxing jurisdic-tions on projects that would not exist “but for” the use of the TIF.Forward Development Group began to assemble the proposed 325-acre develop-ment in late 2009. The first phase of the project involves a 35-acre commercial devel-opment, with Wal-Mart Inc. as the anchor business. FDG’s plan also calls for a bank, a convenience store and a restaurant, although the developer has declined to say specifically which busi-nesses it’s working with.In the development agree-ment narrowly approved by the council, the developer is required to construct off-site projects, estimated at a cost of $3 million, including improvements to U.S. Hwy. 51, state Hwy. 138 and Jack-son Street east and west. The developer is also obligated to construct pub-lic stormwater management infrastructure, estimated to cost $1.59 million. FDG is also required to provide a letter of credit in the amount of $2.5 million.The developer is to guar-antee that the city will receive sufficient actual tax increment, beginning in 2017, to fund all city debt service on city borrowing for stormwater management reimbursement and 70 per-cent of city debt service on city borrowing to pay for off-site improvements reim-bursement. And the developer is required to provide docu-mentation that three lots, apart from Wal-Mart, the anchor tenant, have been sold to commercial enter-prises. Those businesses are obligated to substantially complete construction by Oct. 31, 2015.The city borrowed $2.3 million earlier this year for the project to meet its part of the development agreement. The city is also required to reimburse the developer for off-site improvements, up to $2.99 million, and reim-burse up to $1.5 million for stormwater improvements at the site. It also has pledged to reimburse the developer up to $550,000 for grading at the site.Mayor Donna Olson said the city built many contin-gencies into the agreement that, if not met, would have the effect of negating the development agreement. But she’s been a strong supporter of the project as a way to stimulate economic devel-opment, which all agree the city badly needs.
Building and Sustaining Neighborhoods…
The New Gazebo at Stoughton Rotary Park.
…While Helping Support Our Community
We Don’t Skip the Details.
3185 Deer Point Dr., Stoughton, WI(608) 877-1131
Visit our website www.shawbuilders.com
• June 2011:
Urban Service Area amended
• Sept. 2011:
Traffic impact analysis submitted to state
• June 2012:
Comprehensive plan amended
• June 2013:
Annexation of 142 acres
• Nov. 2013:
General development plan approved
• Jan. 2014:
Development agreement approved
• Feb. 2014:
Reconsideration of devel-opment agreement failed
• March 2014:
Council approves moratorium on creation of TIF district until economic impact analysis is completed
• April 2014:
Council chooses firm to conduct economic impact analysis
JSD Professional Services
Kettle Park West plans call for commercial, office and residential spaces along U.S. Hwy. 51 and state Hwy. 138. The Common Council is seeking additional information about the economic impact of the development before moving forward.
by Kimberly Wethal
Framing Stoughton’s heritage
Construction of the city’s new Norwegian Heritage Center is well underway this year. The build-ing is being constructed by the Bryant Foundation. When it opens early next year, the two-story, 15,000-square-foot center will house a genealogy library, lounge, auditorium and spaces for both per-manent and temporary exhibits related to Norwegian culture.