Building on success

Village of Sherwood turns its focus to downtown development

Posted on Sep 1, 2017 :: Economic Development , Insight On
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Sherwood’s Wanick Choute Park serves as a symbol of both what the village has accomplished and what it could become.

Thanks to funds generated from a successful recreational tax incremental district centered on the area around High Cliff Golf Course, the village built the popular park at no cost to taxpayers. With its playground, splash pad, open-air pavilion and outdoor amphitheater, the attraction draws plenty of visitors — a recent survey showed most of its patrons come from outside Sherwood.

With the wings of some success beneath it, the village now turns its focus to adding amenities to better meet residents’ needs as well as draw more visitors.

“Since we’re pretty much a bedroom community for the Fox Cities, we want to start bringing some more businesses into the community to serve our residents,” says Roger Kaas, a village trustee and chairman of the community development authority. The village has created two additional TIDs to support its growth plans: TID 2 around Wanick Park and the grocery store and TID 3 around the village hall. The recreational TID is set to expire in 2019 and generates $250,000 a year in increment, money that now gets donated to TID 3.

“We’re using that then to encourage development here,” Kaas says.

The village has completed a master plan for development in TID 2 around the grocery store and the other side of State Highways 55 and 114. It includes plans for a village square in the triangular area east of the village hall.

Kaas would like to lure businesses such as coffee shops, delis, antique stores, boutiques and nail salons. Big-box stores, however, need not apply. “We want to keep the rural nature of the village intact,” he says.

The village sees a great need for more senior housing, ranging from independent to assisted living. It put out a request for proposal for a development adjacent to the village hall but received few responses.
It has now enlisted the services of a real estate firm in hopes of identifying developers.

Parents in the village soon will have a closer-to-home option for child care. A developer purchased a shuttered subsidized apartment complex from the village and is remodeling it into Sherwood’s first licensed day care center. It’s expected to open by the end of the year.

With High Cliff State Park in the confines of Sherwood and the Niagara Escarpment running through it, Kaas sees many opportunities to draw more visitors to the village.

“We are getting that kind of traffic coming into the village and would like to give them some more opportunities to stay here and spend more money,” Kaas says.

New Holstein plans move forward

Redevelopment of the former Tecumseh site in New Holstein will take another step forward. The site has sat vacant since 2009. The city is set to acquire the 40-acre property from Calumet County in October.

The design concept envisions a mixed-use area that features a local brewing cluster, housing and commercial development. With the moniker Market Platz, the development would tie in the city’s German heritage.

Mary Kohrell, community economic development director for Calumet County, says the city is working to acquire state and federal funding for the redevelopment. It’s consulted with Kimberly and Manitowoc about converting manufacturing sites to new developments.

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New Holstein already boasts 96 acres of park system, a prairie and an aquatic center. The Market Platz hub would help create a congregation point, says Cassandra Langenfeld, city administrator.

The city brought in a consultant to generate ideas for the space and has turned its focus to promoting the development to New Holstein residents.

“We just have to get the word out,” says New Holstein Mayor Dianne Reese.

A new priority in Calumet County
Kohrell joined Calumet County in January in the newly created position of community economic development director.

“It was created because economic development has been and continues to be a priority in the county’s strategic plan,” Kohrell says.

Priorities include business retention and development as well as addressing workforce needs. She’s working closely with the county’s municipalities to help them focus on community projects. These issues tie together, Kohrell says, as community development plays a key role in drawing talent.

Kohrell says the county’s geography provides benefits as well as challenges. The county needs to jump on board as opportunities present themselves, she says.

Calumet County is the second-fastest growing county in the state, thanks in large part to growth in its northwest corner, which includes the Village of Harrison and part of the City of Menasha.

Sherwood_3Appleton’s South Point Commerce Park also resides in Calumet County. Microencapsulation company Encapsys is constructing its $17 million headquarters in the park. Security-Luebke Roofing and auto accessories company Custom Offsets each have purchased land as well.

Matthew Rehbein, economic development specialist for the City of Appleton, says companies have increasingly turned toward new construction, and South Point offers stormwater management, infrastructure and wetland delineation.