DNR, Community Leaders Unveil Plans to Convert Landfill into Sports Complex

By: Madeline Anderson Email
By: Madeline Anderson Email

Wausau community leaders, along with the DNR and other area partners unveiled their plans to convert the old Holtz-Krause landfill into a sports complex.

"What a dream facility to have in your community," DNR secretary Cathy Stepp said. "And what extraordinary opportunities to bring families together from all over the state. And not only be able to play soccer, but to appreciate Marathon Co., the Wausau community, the warmth and the hospitality that's here in abundance."

At a press conference Tuesday, the chair of the Holtz-Krause Landfill Steering Committee--the group in charge of fixing up the site--outlined a timeline of when people can expect to see goal posts and grass on the 57 acre property.

The committee is currently in the design phase and will begin accepting bids from construction and development companies soon. Construction is set to begin in spring of 2013 and athletes could play on the 15 fields as early as fall of 2014.

"We are about to embark on the construction of a recreational complex that will serve thousands of people in Marathon County," Dave Eisenreich said. "That will become a destination for major regional soccer tournaments. And in so doing, become a stimulus to the local economy."

The facility will also include bleachers for fans, stadium lighting and paved parking.

The county acquired the land in October of this year. But it wasn't easy getting there.

"If there's an incident on a piece of property, who's responsible?" Stepp said. "That's a big burden to take on."

The DNR granted the county a liability exemption so they could take ownership without having to worry about any lawsuits if the landfill causes any future harm or pollution. But the DNR assures the land is safe. The site was closed for remediation in 1994 under its supervision.

"Remedy included a new landfill cap and an active gas collection and monitoring system," Eisenreich said. "And then over the last 17-18 years the waste was treated and the groundwater improved significantly and methane gas from the site decreased dramatically."

The county, city and Holtz-Krause Steering Committee will pay for the property. Three million dollars was also donated that had been set aside to clean up contaminated groundwater, something that's no longer needed.

The property is located on Kent St. on Wausau's southeast side.

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