By Alyssa Rupp —
With the city council’s approval to sell a portion of land in Menomonie’s Technology and Business Park, the addition of the grocery store Gordy’s County Market is one step closer to becoming a reality. This latest step in that process was settled on April 7, a decision that authorized the sale of $600,000 worth of land at the corner of Hwy 29 and Red Cedar Street.
The approval process has progressed slowly but surely and has passed through the hands of several committees.
“The tech park board looked at it, a design review team looked at the building and the city council has looked at re-zoning a portion of it [the land],” explains Randy Eide, director of public works for the city of Menomonie. After this six to eight month process, it was agreed that the city had authorization to sell the land to Gordy’s at a specific price, but the actual sale of the land has yet to be made. “No sale has happened. There’s still the acceptance of the sale by Gordy’s and the Schaffer family (who own Gordy’s), building plans have to come in, state plans have to be stamped and landscaping is another review process,” Eide says.
Several new businesses have been able to call Menomonie home in the past couple of years, and soon, Gordy’s could be one of those. The ability for the city to expand was one of the main reasons Gordy’s fit so well.
“We are growing,” says mayor of Menomonie, Randy Knaack. “They also looked at the site and they’ve established that it could be conducive to pulling people in from surrounding industry.” Supporters also note that its proximity and visibility from Hwy 29 and other surrounding towns will be helpful. “The hospital is out there, and there are a lot of people that encompass that area,” Knaack adds. Customers will be able to take advantage of gas pumps that are included in the plans as well.
In addition, the mayor points out that there could be some downfalls to adding another grocery store to the city. “There are some possible negative impacts on other grocery stores in Menomonie. It isn’t all rosy for everyone; some individuals may think it’s a good thing and other individuals may think it’s a bad thing,” Knaack said.
However, the mayor stresses that it’s not the city’s responsibility to decide what businesses can establish themselves in Menomonie because of competitors that already exist here. “They have to sort that out themselves. It’s not our job,” said the mayor. The decisions made by the city council have only dictated that the land is available for sale at a certain price, that the sale is fair and that the land is zoned and appropriate for that sale and a possible build.