Highway complex still the right road to take

THE PROPOSED $25 MILLION Sheboygan County Highway Department headquarters and shed complex in the town of Plymouth is continuing to draw opposition.

Yet the project received two more approvals last week, and rightly so.

First the County Board approved exceeding its self-imposed borrowing limit for capital projects to finance construction of the complex over the next two years.

Then the Plymouth Town Board approved a conditional use permit for the new facility at the southwest corner of the intersection of State 67 and County J.

Before the Town Board, several residents raised questions about the potential impact of the new center, particularly in regards to traffic and water levels.

The new building will get its water from an existing water supply at nearby Rocky Knoll – another county-owned facility – which has a more than ample supply of water with two deep wells and a large water tank. Similarly, it will tie into an existing county-owned sewer line from Rocky Knoll to the city of Plymouth’s wastewater treatment system.

Both water systems – which were built when Rocky Knoll had a much larger resident population than it does today are more than adequate to meet the needs of the new complex. County officials did their homework on those issues before moving ahead with their plans.

As far as traffic, this is not a large commercial, industrial or residential development being proposed on the site. None of the existing facilities the new building will replace – the department headquarters/ shop in the city of Sheboygan and sheds in Elkhart Lake and Plymouth – generate anywhere near enough traffic to have a negative or even noticeable impact where they are now. Even combining the traffic from all three in one location will have far less impact than traffic that is generated by nearby Road America and the resort village of Elkhart

Lake.

Town residents also questioned the loss of what one termed “prime agricultural land.”

But as town officials rightly noted, the land in question has never really been “prime” agricultural land – its use typically has been for marginal agricultural needs.

That’s why the previous owners had sought a sale for several years for development purposes.

The Town Board previously turned down a request for a residential development on the parcel because of the concerns raised over the Highway Department proposal – because the impact of that development would have been far more negative in all the areas in question.

But how long could town officials have held out against some sort of residential, commercial or industrial development of that parcel – as has been the case in nearly every direction from it? The highway complex seems far less intrusive than what might have come down the road for this land otherwise.

On the County Board, Supervisor Fay Uraynar continued to question the price tag for the new highway building before the vote on expanded borrowing.

It is always interesting that, when so many demand that government operate in a more business-like fashion, when proposals come along for cost-saving proposals that will bring long-term savings with economies of scale, efficient operations and more modern facilities, opposition is raised because of the large price tag.

Yet business and industry know that, at times, they must make a large initial investment in improvements that will, over time, return savings many times the initial cost and they do what they know needs to be done.

That’s all that the county is doing here, and what they’re doing is right.


Readers Comments

Facilities like Rocky Knoll
Submitted by Nonesuchniemi@a... on Mon, 2016-11-07 22:37.
Facilities like Rocky Knoll and it's old water infrastructure is old technology that is being phased out all around the state because it's not cost effective to maintain. No studies have been done to see how taking millions of gallons of water out of our towns aquifers could have an effect on our safe water supply for our families. How many residents wells are in a 1 mile radius? Hundreds? Not like Manitowoc were their new facilitie. I bet, let's say officials in town of Waukesha could go back in time and could redo all their industries conditional use permits that could possibly affect town wells they would because look at them now Their residence are stuck with contaminated wells. Something the best of intentions can have the most devastating outcomes . I would like to think there are some very smart people working in the county. But after their actions this summer I now think differently. Closing county road c between falls and Plymouth while two major state jobs being done at the same time with I-43 south ramp closed. Think about the logistics of the road system in the area. Funneled traffic to one of the most dangerous intersections tt and 23. Like I said sometimes the best intentions can have the most deadly results.
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