NEW HOLSTEIN - The City of New Holstein says it wants to redevelop a vacant manufacturing site. But, the process could be a slow one.
The New Holstein Community Development Authority says it and the city will conduct a study to see what should go in to that area.
It's best known as the old Tecumseh Products plant. The 400,000 square foot space has sat empty since Heus Manufacturing closed its doors in 2009.
But many around town say they're skeptical of whether manufacturing can make a comeback.
The impact of the shutdown of Tecumseh Products and later Heus Manufacturing spilled off the property and onto Main St. in New Holstein, slowing business at The Village Inn.
“People coming from Tecumseh would stop and fill up and stop and get something to eat as well. That and lunch hours from Tecumseh were very busy second shift on Fridays was crazy here years ago. Not so much anymore,” said Tim DeSombre, the owner of The Village Inn.
The city says it will conduct a $30,000 feasibility study to redevelop the area.
Alderman Bob Bosma says the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has given the city a $7,500 grant to help.
“Basically, we started with empty pockets. The city has also come forward with money, $15,000 towards this study. The New Holstein Economic Development Corporation also donated $7,500 towards the study,” said Bosma.
The city wants to purchase the property from Heus Acquisitions. The company bought the property from Tecumseh Products in 2007.
The city says this property is still zoned as heavy industrial. But it's unclear at this point whether a manufacturer will once again come back to New Holstein.
“I'd like to see another manufacturer that employs 2,500 people. But realistically, we're not holding out for that unless someone comes along and is willing to do it,” said Bosma.
Business owners say they have their doubts on manufacturing.
“I really don't think there ever will be. That building has been added on to over the years it's kind of a hodgepodge and I know there is a lot of clean up that has to go on,” said DeSombre.
New Holstein officials say Tecumseh Products would be responsible for any further contamination clean up.
The city could host public input meetings on what should be done with the property as soon as next month.