Some Waupaca County residents are meeting the county’s new 109,000 square-foot highway facility project with skepticism.
The total cost of the project is estimated at about $27.6 million. County Board Chairman Dick Koeppen acknowledges that any building project will be met with controversy, but it’s the board’s job as elected officials to show its benefits.
“I’m finding as I’m talking to the public about this facility that very few people know the enormity of our highway operation,” Koeppen said. “They didn’t know we have 68 employees, they didn’t know that we have 40 snowplows out there at any snow event during the winter, and we have 60 events like that a year. They don’t know of all the equipment we have, graders and you name it out there. There’s so many reasons why we need a new facility.”
Koeppen believes the county board will likely vote the facility’s approval soon. To those hoping the facility project can be put off for the future, Koppen doesn’t believe that’s a financially smart option.
“We’ll probably ask for a bonding issue next spring,” he explained. “As I tell the public, the building costs are going up 4.5 percent a year, plus the fact interests rates as we know are creeping up. Every year we wait it’s going to be a big increase.”
If approved, construction of the facility could begin in the summer of 2018. The new facility will include a public lobby, administrative offices, conference rooms, a 38,000-square-foot garage. The site would also have cold storage space, salt and sand storage, a truck scale and a fueling station.