Proposal for the purchase of Highway Department rejected
By Jared Raney
For several months, the word has been out that Kwik Trip plans to build three new gas stations in the Rhinelander area. That vision was dealt a heavy blow this week as the Oneida County Board voted in special session to reject a $2.3 million offer from the gas station chain.
Kwik Trip sought to build their third gas station on the current site of the Oneida County Highway Department. The first station was built last fall, and the second was recently approved by the City of Rhinelander.
This offer has been on the table for months, and in that time the County Board has been discussing various options, including two remodeling concepts put together by Barrientos design and consulting.
Proposals considered by the Board would have cost in the neighborhood of $4-5 million for remodeling or over $10 million for a new facility.
In the end, after hours of discussion and closed session, the Board rejected the offer outright and opted not to take any immediate action on a remodelling project moving forward.
The issue, as Supervisor Alex Young put it, is basically “dead for now.” Discussion will continue, but notwithstanding a new offer from Kwik Trip, the county will maintain ownership of the property.
“My sense is that it’s a dead issue and that at some point the Highway Committee will start looking at potential renovation options for the existing site,” Young said.
Though a remodel project won’t be pursued in the immediate future, Supervisor Scott Holewinski noted at the meeting that there are several smaller projects needed to bring the current facility up to code that will most likely be implemented through the normal budget process, such as updated fuel systems and heated parking.
Major additions of the conceptualized remodels would have included automatic washing bays, which Highway Facility Evaluation Committee members said would increase longevity of Highway Department vehicles, as well as expanded vehicle bays and fuel stations, among other elements.
Had the Board pursued the Kwik Trip offer and a new facility, the proposed site would have sat on 35 acres of county owned propert adjacent to Pizza Haven and Musson Brothers, INC., property.