BY KEVIN BONESKE
The Oneida County Board has gone on record in support of having the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry office relocate from Madison to a municipality in the county.
Supervisors passed a resolution to that effect Tuesday in response to a provision in the 2015-17 state budget, in which the DNR must develop a proposal to move the Division of Forestry headquarters to a location north of U.S. Hwy. 10.
“I guess the theory behind was, ‘Why not locate foresters where the forest is?’ to put it quite simply,” said county forest director John Bilogan, who also noted the move could relocate an estimated 50-plus jobs to the county. “I personally thought Oneida County is already kind of identified as maybe being the hub of the forest in the northern tier counties.”
Oneida County Economic Development Corporation director Roger Luce said the resolution passed by the county board lets the DNR know of the county’s interest of having the Division of Forestry office anywhere in the county.
“This is a just very, very preliminary procedure,” said Luce, who noted the economic development corporation would take the lead in coordinating the effort to get the Division of Forestry headquarters to relocate in one of the county’s municipalities. “The request for proposals will come out at a later date. That will then get into the competitive nature of pitting one community against another.”
The county board’s resolution is similar to one passed a week earlier by the Rhinelander City Council in favor of having the headquarters move to the city.