Maria Drive to Be Widened
Left, Kent Worzalla of Kent’s Service Center said he was surprised the city had decided to “acquire” part of his property. (City-Times photo)
City to raze Mickey’s, acquire 10 feet of Kent’s in process
By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Plan Commission Thursday unanimously approved steps to widen Maria Dr. by 33 feet- steps that include tearing down Mickey’s and taking about 10 feet of property from Kent’s Service Center.
Mickey’s closed in early November last year after 40 years in business. City leaders said while they were sad to see the restaurant famous for its pizza pies close, it also opened the door for street improvements needed in that area.
“The intersection on either side of Second St. is offset by about ten feet,” Mayor Andrew Halverson said. “So it makes sense for the sake of public safety- and ultimately for the safety of pedestrians and the school children walking there, which is our first priority.”
Marie Drive between Second and First streets will be widened to the standard 66 feet at an estimated cost of $300k – $400k, which Director of Development Michael Ostrowski said will align Maria Drive “perfectly” on either side of Second Street, making future plans to reconstruct that intersection easier.
City leaders still need to negotiate terms of purchasing Mickey’s, which has an asking price of about $150,000. While the Plan Commission has no authority to include caveats within those negotiations, Commissioner Gary Curless nonetheless suggested asking for the restaurant’s liquor license within the purchase agreement, and also to consider the value of the proprietary recipes which made the restaurant famous.
“We should get the liquor license along with the building and the land- if anybody else were to buy Mickey’s they’d get the liquor license,” Curless said.
Halverson did say the liquor license would have to be returned to the city after one year of nonuse, but including it within the Mickey’s agreement was up to the city’s finance and public protection committees.
“But it’s important to note we would have exact alignment at that intersection so no additional augmentation would be required east or west of the site except the intersection itself,” Halverson said.
Kent Worzalla, owner of Kent’s Service Center, said he was surprised when he received word the city was going to acquire part of his business property, which has been located at 104 Second St. North for the past 25 years.
Worzalla addressed the commission Thursday saying he still had questions about the plan.
“If that 10 feet (of Kent’s) is acquired, what happens to the buildings that are located in those ten feet?” Asked Worzalla.
Halverson explained the structures would be relocated to a location of Worzalla’s choosing at the city’s expense, and Worzalla said while he’s not happy about it, he’s taking the high road and cooperating.
“I still need to find out more about what they’re doing there,” Worzalla told the City-Times. “I believe the purchase of the building is a good thing to do, I believe change for the intersection would benefit everyone. I just don’t think they should move as fast, pay top dollar, and tear it down and move everything so fast. I believe there’s a proper way to establish the value of Mickey’s, though, which I believe is far less than half of what they’re asking. I think it should be put on the open market.”
Worzalla will be compensated for the property loss but said he’s still concerned about how much room will be usable for his own business.
“If they take that 33 feet, what are they going to leave me with to navigate my wreckers- or drive in my parking lot- which is still there after 25 years,” Worzalla wondered. “I’m all for the building coming down, but I just need to find out what their plans and intent are. Do they really need to push it back the whole 33 feet?”
Halverson said acquiring Kent’s property isn’t classified as eminent domain because Worzalla is a “participatory property owner”.
“We will not be using enimant domain because we have participatory property owners who are working with us and supporting the project. They still have extreme rights under Chapter 32 of the Wisconsin State Statutes, which is absolutely on the side of protecting property owners,” he said. “This is a public interest though because it’s a public right-of-way in a road.”
Halverson said provided negotiations go smoothly the project, which will be designed by the city and put out for bid to area contractors, could be complete in time for the first day of the 2014-15 school year.