February 09, 2015

If you haven't been out to the east side of Menasha lately take a drive, the changes are dramatic. Entering into development agreements with both Lexington Homes and Cypress Homes has led to impressive amounts of growth in the area for the City of Menasha. So much so that both builders are well ahead of the milestones that were anticipated in their agreements.

Cypress Homes has completely sold out in their 'Cottages at Lake Park' development, the 16 homes will have a value of around $3 million. Cypress Homes has also built a spec home in Lake Park Villas and has an agreement with the City to purchase 3 more lots in Lake Park Villas in 2015. We anticipate this continuing relationship with Cypress Homes will bring new families to Lake Park Villas and the care-free lifestyle the development represents, as they also plan to purchase 3 more lots in 2015.

Construction on a custom single family home designed by the owner is also set to begin this spring in Lake Park Villas.

In its February 2nd meeting, the Common Council approved an agreement with Lexington Homes that allows the opening of phase II & III of the Ponds of Menasha. Lexington Homes has already built around 68 homes in the development with a value of at least $12 million. They are far ahead of their milestone of reaching a value of $11.9 million by 2017.

The City incurred over $9 million in debt creating the original Lake Park Villas development and land purchase, today as a result of the rapid recent development in the area that debit is down to $5,013,075.

I'm also excited about the prospect of two other developments nearby. The first being Menasha Woodlands Park. This new 5 acre park will be just north of Villa Way at the extension of Lotus Trail. A public meeting a few weeks ago attracted dozens of people to talk about the new park in their neighborhood, waiting anxiously for it to be available for them and their children. The second being a new branch of Community First Credit Union which is to be built at the corner of Lake Park Road and Hwy 10-114. It is expected that the credit union branch will have a value of more than $1 million when complete.

Our eastern shore is growing thanks to great development partners, and attracting great new families to Menasha.
Another hit on recycling that even the Grinch wouldn't be proud of. The proposed State of Wisconsin budget cuts the recycling grant program by $4 million in the first year of the biennium. The current funding level is $19 million, with a $1 million bonus grant for responsible units that work cooperatively. The budget proposal would reduce the funding level from $19 million to $15 million in the first year of the biennium. In the second year of the biennium the Governor is recommending that the funding level be restored back to $19 million. The Governor also recommends retaining the $1 million bonus grant for cooperating responsible units in both years of the budget. For historical perspective purposes, in 2008 the funding for this grant program was at $32 million.

What does this mean for Menasha? About 20% of our program is funded through this program so any cuts in grants will make it even more difficult for us to increase frequency in the future.

Call your representative and let them know that recycling is important to you!

February 08, 2015

The popularity of the Trestle Trail is leading discussion on expanding the opportunity of getting in touch with our waterfront with a loop that will connect the east and west ends of the trail with a loop around the south end of Little Lake Butte des Morts, including two new trestles across the Fox River.  The photo below is at the proposed crossing from Mathewson St to the west end of the current trestle.

The Menasha Park Board will be reviewing the draft feasibility study Monday February 9th at 6PM, the public is welcome to join in this first glimpse of an exciting amenity that will continue to bring Menasha closer to the water. There will likely be a joint session of the two Common Councils in the near future to further discuss the project and begin the grant and fundraising process if the elected officials agree the project should move forward.

The concept shows a new leg of the trail extending from the end of the boardwalk on the City end (east end) of the trestle crossing the river to Mathewson Street, turning east on Fox Street, turning south on Lawson Street, turning left on River Street in Neenah, and continuing across the river to Arrowhead Park. There is an existing trail to the west end of the trestle through the park and along Lake Street.

While there is a hefty price tag on a project like this, it is anticipated that the vast majority would come from grants and donations much like the original trestle trail. Having safe access between the two downtowns is also likely to boost home values and neighborhood desirability on the west half of Doty Island in both communities.

Hundreds of thousands of people cross the trestle every year, I don't think that there is any time day or night that I have every crossed when there wasn't someone sharing the trail with me. The extension and creation of a loop is sure to bring even more people to Menasha to enjoy our waterfront lifestyle.

You can review the draft report here