The Fort Atkinson City Council approved purachasing about 75 acres of land for $750,000 when it met in special session Wednesday evening.
The land is immediately adjacent to the city in the Town of Koshkonong, just east of Fort Atkinson High School at the northwest corner of Banker and Hoard roads. It is expected to hold about 130 single-family home lots and four to six multi-family home lots, according to City Manager Matt Trebatoski.
The accepted offer of $750,000 includes $50,000 worth of engineering plans for subdivisions, and the council approved an additional $65,000 to complete the plans.
Fort Atkinson residents shouldn’t see a “substantial bump,” in taxes, according to Trebatoski. He said the cost of the 10-year loan for the land purchase is being lumped in with that for completing renovation of the fire station.
Trebatoski said the purchase fits perfectly with the city’s comprehensive plan.
“This is in the city’s best interest,” Trebatoski said. “The location is great; it’s a prime location for housing. It helps us address an immediate need for multi-family housing and a future need for single-family housing.”
The location, as Trebatoski pointed out, is right by the high school, Madison Area Technical College, a grocery store, a convenience store, health-care facilities and restaurants.
This is a long-term investment in the city and will reap good returns in the future, Trebatoski said.
“Obviously, the investment will be paid back as we sell the land to be developed and in the long-term through property taxes,” the city manager noted.
The city council unanimously approved the purchase and multiple members said it was a great move for the future of Fort Atkinson.
“This is visioning,” council member Jude Hartwick said. “The city is being proactive. We can move our city forward. We now have the resources and tools to vision.”
Council member Bruce Johnson echoed Hartwick’s sentiments, citing the city’s plans that identified this land as a good target for expansion.
“This was the number-one location for our city to expand and control,” Johnson said. “The fact that we control our destiny is nothing but good for the future.”
The largest benefit of the purchase, according to council member Mason Becker, is that it adds attainable housing.
“This addresses the rental housing need,” Becker said. “If you talk to any Realtor in Fort Atkinson, there’s not nearly enough inventory. There’s going to be plenty of workforce housing, so people might be skeptical that it will be all high-end, but people won’t be priced out.”
The city’s need for more housing would have made a large impact in the next few years as the population continues to increase. A study done by the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce and the city showed a current demand for up to 200 additional units as a projected 685 households move into the city over the next 15 years.
“This sets us up, hopefully, for the next 10 to 15 years,” Trebatoski said.
Article written by the Daily Union