The Stevens Point city limits may soon be pushed.
"We have the opporunity of annexing approximately 777 acres just east of the city," said Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson.
The rectangular-area is made up of County Road HH on the south, County Road R on the west, Burbank Road on the east and the Canadian National Railroad on the north. He says it's the perfect spot for a business park to take shape.
"The Canadian National Railroad is a tremendous piece of this industrial puzzle that we want to bring to fruition," Halverson said. "But being a community that's pre-planned its utilities, that's laid out our street network, that has a massive transmission line running right through the middle of this proposed business park, that natural gas is very abundant north, south, east and west of this site. So there aren't many communities that can put all of that at a table to put every thing right at the doorstep of nearly 800 acres."
Currently, the area is just wide open space for agriculture use. But once businesses become interested, the companies that own the land plan to sell it if the price is right. Companies involved asked to comment on their role, declined, saying it is too early in the planning process.
If the proposal is among the Wis. Economic Development Corporation's 10 certified sites chosen this fall, it will also be the largest in the entire state. That means the WEDC will help promote what will be called Eastpark Commerce Center on a global scale, hopefully bringing thousands of jobs.
"It's going to take many years, if not 20-30 years to have that complete park built out," Halverson said. "But it allows us the flexibility and the potential to have any one-millionth square foot user, let's say, to show up at our door tomorrow because of this being pre-certified and say we're ready to build, and we'd say, we're absolutely ready to serve your needs."
"Who would not be excited?" Stevens Point City Council member Joanne Suomi said. "Our unemployment rate is above 8 percent. So if there's any chance to decrease that with the possibility of an announcement like this."
But first, City Council members like Suomi must authorize the annexation and purchase.
"Can we pull it off?" she said "That's my next hesitation."
Mayor Halverson says, absolutely.
"Given the fact that our comprehensive plan calls for industrial development on these properties, the fact that we have a state as a major partner with us, that the land owners are supportive, and the fact that obviously right now, our main priority needs to be jobs and jobs creation, I don't think that there's going to be a great deal of opposition to this at all," he said.
On Monday, the City Council, Plan Commission and Finance Committee will meet with the mayor to go over the project. The Commission will then manage zoning the land for industrial and manufacturing development.