UPDATE: The Sun has learned from Lisa Erickson that the offer as accepted was no longer valid. More details in next week's paper.
The Village of Osceola Board of Trustees accepted an offer last week on the former library building. The buyers, Osceola residents Mark and Lisa Erickson, did not immediately respond to inquiries from the Sun about what they plan to do with the property. The 0.119-acre plot of land, situated adjacent to Mill Pond Park, is zoned commercial. The 2,560 square-foot building was built in 1950.
Although the agreed upon price has not been stated publicly, the property was listed for $300,000.
Village will buy land near river
The village board gave the go ahead May 14 to purchase 0.7 acres just west of the former hospital. The purchase will be funded in part by a $5,000 acquisition stewardship matching grant.
Dubbed the St. Croix Riverview Park, the property was originally imagined as an overlook.
The board debated whether the property could actually be developed.
“I went down and looked at the site,” said Trustee Bob Schmidt. “There are a lot of springs on the site. I don’t imagine it being developed very easily.”
“I disagree,” said Trustee Deb Rose. “This piece of property has an old structure on it that could possibly be the old jail or some other piece of history in Osceola. For the cost of $5,000 we only have to buy the property. The grant is not contingent upon us building on it. I think we would be foolish not to buy this. It’s a piece of our history.”
“There could be something else built there and completely destroy that view,” said Trustee Van Burch. “There’s enough of a plateau there that it would be a really nice overlook in the future. I’m not a big fan of more green space right now and this is a hard decision to make, but I’m in favor of keeping it because of the historical value and the potential of an overlook. Something more to attract to downtown.”
Village President Jeromy Buberl expressed similar thoughts.
“There was an idea presented of a picnic space,” Buberl said. “It would be a nice overlook to the river. It’s not big, but it’s a nice spot to hike down to.”
Ultimately the board voted to accept the grant and buy the property, with Bob Schmidt voting against.
Mill Pond Park extension on hold
Plans to develop village-owned property east of the DQ into a park are on hold. Initially envisioned as an extension to Mill Pond Park, the water table under the property is high and village officials are unsure whether development is viable or worth the investment. With a $68,000 stewardship matching grant, the village estimated it would need to pay $108,115 to complete the project.
Board members postponed a decision on whether to accept the grant until the June meeting.
Budget work continues
The board approved updates to the 2019 general fund budget and passed budgets for funds including water, sewer, airport redevelopment, TIF 1, TIF 2 and road tax.
The budget process has been slowed without a full time administrator.
“We made some corrections to the General Fund and it improved our comparison of revenues to expenses so that we’re just about breakeven for this year where we weren’t before,” said Trustee Bruce Gilliland. “The other budgets are to get something in place so we can start generating expense reports and let departments know how they’re doing, which we haven’t been able to do until now except in a very cursory fashion. This is a good step forward. Hopefully it will just get better from here.”
• Arbor Day will be celebrated May 23 with a tree planting ceremony in Schillberg Park.
• The board approved a $500 Friends of Interstate Park membership.
• A site concept plan was approved for Sunrise Precision Machine, which plans to move into the industrial park.
• The board awarded H&H Turf Management a bid for park mowing at $8,830.
• Brooke Kulzer was appointed to the Board of Appeals and Angela Helgson-McCarthy to the Historic Preservation Commission.