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Appraiser: Island parcel could sell for $1 million

A small parcel of land cut off from the "county farm" property by Highway 64 construction is worth over $1 million, an appraiser told St. Croix County Board members recently.

"It's a nice piece of property. It has great visibility and good traffic control," said Jeff White, a certified real estate appraiser with Valuation Specialists of Eau Claire.

White was hired to do the appraisal as part of a "plan for a plan" for the New Richmond property.

He said the new parcel includes about 18.13 acres, but only 12 acres are suitable for building. White set the market value of those 12 acres at $1,015,000 or roughly $2 per square foot.

Access to the property is from North Fourth Avenue.

In the past, County Board members have been reluctant to consider selling county farm land, but they have been approached by developers interested in this parcel, which is now separated from the rest of the property.

Revolving loans

In other business last week, the County Board agreed to transfer its community development block grant fund to the Regional Business Fund Inc. The new fund would be administered by the West Central Regional Planning Commission.

Regional planners are proposing combining small revolving loan funds into a pool of about $14 million to help west central Wisconsin businesses expand and to assist new businesses that move here.

The state Department of Commerce operates the Community Block Grant program to help private businesses that expand or relocate to Wisconsin and create new jobs. The loans come from the DOC but are repaid to the local government -- county, city, village or town -- which in turn sets up a revolving loan program to finance other economic development projects.

Currently every community with a revolving loan program has its own committee to make loan decisions. Each committee has access only to the money in its fund.

WCRPC Senior Planner Ann Raid said a combined fund could amount to $12 million to $14 million available to businesses throughout the seven-county region.

WCRPC counties are St. Croix, Polk, Dunn, Eau Claire, Chippewa, Barron and Clark. The planning commission already provides administrative services to about half of the area communities that have revolving loan funds.