Fields where Lakeside Foods has been spraying waste water could sprout some of New Richmond's newest developments.
Lakeside Foods has petitioned the City of New Richmond to annex 178 acres of property it owns along Highway 64 on the western edge of town.
The land is presently used as an aeration field to apply Lakeside's waste spray water. A hay crop on the property is then harvested through the summer season and fall.
The current rural property has been used by Lakeside for that purpose for more than 20 years.
Mark Enter, general manager of the New Richmond facility, said Lakeside plans to purchase new land north of the city for its spraying and haying operations.
He said the new land is better suited to the practice as the soil is sandier and will more easily absorb the water.
Lakeside must first sell its current land to free up money for the new property purchase.
"Most any buyer of that property is going to want it annexed into the city," Enter said. "So we went ahead and started that process."
According to Robert Barbian, director of planning and community development, 45 acres of the proposed annexed land is south of Highway 64 and 132 is north of the roadway. The eastern border of the property is County Road K.
Barbian said the local canning company hopes the land will eventually be developed for commercial and industrial purposes. Lakeside officials have also indicated that a medium-density housing development could be a possibility.
"They want to bring it up to a higher land use," he said.
The land would eventually be served by a rail spur coming off the main line traveling west out of New Richmond, providing transportation options for companies interested in locating here, Barbian said.
If the land is annexed, Lakeside hopes to rezone the northern parcel as commercial land and the southern parcel for industrial uses, Barbian said.
Enter said the company doesn't have a specific timeline established for selling the current land and buying the new property.
"But we want to do it as soon as possible," he said. "The sooner the better."
The annexation request will be discussed at the Sept. 2 meeting of the New Richmond Plan Commission. The request will eventually be considered by the City Council as well.