The Dunn County Board of Supervisors has authorized the sale of 5.9 acres of former county farm land to a statewide health care provider. The plan calls for the sale of property that lies between The Neighbors and Highway 12/29 for $643,500.
County Manager Paul Miller explained that Prevea, a statewide health care provider, wants to build a 5,000 square foot clinic — with room for future expansion — on the western end of the 14 acres of land owned by the county. In addition to necessary utility easements, the offer to purchase includes the installation by the county of a frontage road that would parallel the highway.
The vote at Wednesday night’s meeting was far from unanimous. Sixteen supervisors were in favor of the plan, while 11 were opposed.
Miller said that given its proximity, the proposed sale was brought before The Neighbors committee in consideration of the plan’s possible impact on the county-owned nursing home and rehabilitation center. He told the board that the purchase price includes the county’s cost to install a frontage road at an estimated $400,000.
Noting that approval of the resolution authorizes — but does not execute the sale, Miller said among the considerations in the decision included “how the construction of a frontage road would improve the usability of the balance of the property, whether the county chooses to use it for its own purposes in the future or sell that as well. Having the frontage road there makes it more marketable.”
The frontage road would extend from the intersection of the road that accesses the County Services Building and The Neighbors of Dunn County to Jarrett Creek, the property’s western boundary. Miller said that the city of Menomonie has been very much involved in the decisions surrounding the proposed sale and has indicated that it will, at some point, continue the road across the creek’s culvert so it joins with the existing road in front of the hospital that now ends by Churchill Tire.
Stating his opposition, Supervisor Elton Christopherson called the sale price of $643,500 “misleading” since it doesn’t spell out the $400,000 the county will need to spend to construct the frontage road, leaving a profit of $243,000. He argued that because it lies in the airport overlay zone, the land on the north side of the healthcare center can’t be used to build residential structures should The Neighbors seek to expand into assisted living quarters.
“We should keep that piece of property. We do not know what’s going to have five, 10, 20 years down the road,” Christopherson said. “We’re tending to box ourselves in on options that we have. There’s more land in the county ... in the city that they can buy. I’m not against those people, but I’m against selling this property at this particular point.”
Supervisor Jim Anderson said he served on The Neighbors committee and supports the sale. He agreed that the service road would enhance the property, adding, “My understanding is that the more than $200,000 would be applied to the debt and the principal on the Neighbors ... and we always have the option to approve who we would sell it to and when.”
In response to Supervisor Larry Bjork’s question about how much land would be lost installing the road, Miller estimated that the county would be left with seven to eight acres of saleable property.
In other news, the board appointed Robin Sweeny to fill the vacant District 16 seat. Sweeny also represents Ward 4 on the Menomonie City Council.