Regional roundup

Posted on Sep 29, 2020 :: Regional Roundup
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

interstate 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Bergstrom group to donate up to $5M for Neenah rink

An investor group led by Bergstrom Corp. Chairman and CEO John Bergstrom has pledged to build and gift to the City of Neenah an ice skating rink valued at between $4 million and $5 million.

The group would further operate and maintain the rink, which would be for public use, at no cost to the city for up to five years. The outdoor rink would be located on West Wisconsin Avenue and would be called The Plaza at Gateway Park.

The rink would offer skating between the end of November and March and would be used as an events venue during warmer months. Construction is slated to begin March 1 and completed by October 2021.

Nikki Hessel, executive director of Future Neenah Inc., says the facility will serve as an attraction that will further demonstrate to businesses and the community the city’s dedication to growth and development. Hessel expressed gratitude to Bergstrom and the investor group for their continued support of the city.

“Future Neenah is an enthusiastic supporter of this new community gathering place,” she says. “We believe that the addition of this one-of-a-kind amenity to our beloved downtown district will provide a truly unique destination that will enhance Neenah’s cultural offerings.”

Appleton to proceed with library plans on current site

The City of Appleton has announced plans to move forward with the Appleton Public Library building project at its current site on North Oneida Street. Previously, the city had explored the possibility of building a new library on the site of Soldiers Square near the proposed U.S. Venture headquarters.

Recent studies revealed the library needs additional space to accommodate large meetings, an increase in flexible infrastructure and more efficient circulation practices.

“For years we’ve known the library building has not been meeting the needs of our community,” Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford said in a release. “We need to get this critical project moving, putting what we’ve learned from studies and feedback from the people of Appleton into a responsible and actionable plan.”

Beginning next year, leaders will create a plan for a library facility enhancement or replacement at its current location. The plan will incorporate results from previous studies as well as community input.

The City of Appleton owns and manages the current library site. In a statement, the library says that remaining at the current location simplifies, or eliminates, multiparty agreements and site acquisition issues, removing key barriers to the project and likely yielding cost savings. Additionally, the site supports stewardship of existing investments in parking and other public infrastructure.

Menominee Nation Arena restructuring plan approved

The Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh is ready to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a federal judge approved its restructuring plan.

The arena, which is owned by Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc., filed for bankruptcy in August 2019 after Bayland Buildings Inc. filed a lawsuit saying it was still owed $13.1 million for building the arena. Other investors also stepped forward saying Fox Valley Pro Basketball owed them money as well.

According to Fox Valley Pro Basketball owner Greg Pierce, the plan will allow it “to pay its trade creditors in full and provides a return to other creditors and investors.” The arena opened in December 2017 and is home to the Wisconsin Herd, the G-League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks.

“Our exiting Chapter 11 is the result of the collective effort of the parties, including the City of Oshkosh, Bayland Buildings, the Wisconsin Herd and the Menominee Tribe, coming to the bargaining table and working through difficult issues in a difficult time,” Pierce said in a statement.

The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

High levels of toxic chemicals reported at Tyco Products

Tyco Fire Products, a manufacturer of firefighting foam, reported high levels of toxic PFAS chemicals from water samples in a runoff ditch near its Marinette County facility.

The samples were taken from two ditches and Green Bay and submitted to the Department of Natural Resources. The samples were tested for PFOS and PFOA, chemicals that don’t easily break down in nature and are linked to health issues.

According to Tyco, which is part of Johnson Controls International, the water samples from one ditch and the bay showed levels of the chemicals below 20 parts per trillion (ppt) — the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ standard for groundwater. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests a drinking water standard below 70 ppt.

Tyco’s Ditch B, which flows through Marinette and into the bay, posted levels of 1,000 ppt for PFOA and 72 ppt for PFOS.

The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry adding $10 million production line

Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co. in Manitowoc is adding a new $10 million production line that will expand its capacity to make castings.

The new line will allow the company to make castings of a size that only one other company in the country makes. Concrete work is nearly completed and the machinery is expected to arrive in the next few months. 

It’s uncertain how many jobs will be created, but WAFCO CEO Sachin Shivaram said the company’s production remains strong and the business employs more people now than it did prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

ThedaCare Berlin announces emergency department project

ThedaCare has broken ground on a new emergency department at its Berlin hospital.

The consumer-focused design of the new emergency department is aimed at creating a modern facility that will provide the best experience for patients and offer a more efficient work area for care teams.

The new space will increase the number of treatment rooms from seven to nine and increase the size of the rooms. It will also include a larger trauma room, a room with a bariatric lift to aid providers in transferring disabled patients or those who have difficulty standing, and a dedicated decontamination room with a shower. The care team’s workstation also will be moved to provide improved line of sight to patient rooms and provide greater access to telehealth services.

The $8.5 million, 9,000-square-foot emergency department is expected to open in the spring of 2021.

Grants from cheese fund tapped to help fund community projects

The sale of a cheese factory and the generosity of its late owner will provide $250,000 for construction of New London’s new public library/STEM education center and $100,000 for furniture and fixtures for the Neuschafer Community Library
in Fremont.

The two library grants are part of $517,500 awarded to support nonprofit projects serving the people of New London, Fremont and surrounding areas. The Marilynn W. Taylor/Wohlt Cheese Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region also awarded smaller grants to eight other community organizations.

Taylor owned and operated Wohlt Creamery in New London. Upon her death in 2017, her estate made the gift of the operating business to establish a charitable endowment fund at the Community Foundation. The Community Foundation and estate administrators found a buyer interested in purchasing the business and its real estate assets to keep the business that employed 60 people intact. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery purchased the business in August of 2018.