City Could Soon Be Able to Move on Razing Mickey’s
By Brandi Makuski
Leaders from the City of Stevens Point could soon nail down an agreement with owners of Mickey’s Restaurant and Kent’s Service Center so movement can be made on widening Maria Drive.
Officials from the city have since February discussed compensation with the property owners in closed session. According to city documents, crews would raze Mickey’s- a staple pizza restaurant which closed last November- and acquire about 10 feet of Kent’s Service Center property to Maria Drive can be widened by about 33 feet.
Kent Worzalla, owner of Kent’s Service Center, said in January he wasn’t consulted before the city decided to take part of his business property which currently houses a storage shed, along Second St. North, but he says widening Maria Drive makes sense.
“I believe change for the intersection would benefit everyone,” Worzalla told the City-Times in January. “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.”
Owners of Mickey’s were asking $150k for the property. Whether that price has been reduced during closed session negotiations is not known.
Last week Community Development Director Michael Ostrowski said the city “should be” close to wrapping up negotiations with the parties, but said he wasn’t able to fill in the details yet.
“I think we’re close to finishing that up,” Ostrowski said. “We should be able to wrap that up and come out with a fair and equitable solution for all the parties involved.”
The Stevens Point Plan Commission in January unanimously approved steps to widen Maria Drive at Second Street North- an intersection city leaders say needs to be better aligned for improved safety, especially given the high pedestrian traffic related to nearby Madison Elementary.
“The intersection on either side of Second Street 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.
Halverson said acquiring Kent’s property isn’t classified as eminent domain because Worzalla is a “participatory property owner”.
“We will not be using eminent 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.