It appears that plans for a controversial new business park in Sussex are dead after preliminary costs for the project came in more than $1 million more than anticipated.
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith says the Sussex Village Board will meet on July 24 to discuss the corporate park, proposed near Highway 164 and Silver Spring Drive, but he says the staff is recommending killing the project.
A public hearing that had been scheduled for July 25 has been canceled.
“The Village Board is going to be taking action on the project on the 24th, and my guess is the deal is probably done at this point,” Smith said. “Some of the engineering numbers are coming in much higher than anticipated, and while they might be worked out, it won’t be any time in the near future.”
The initial investment Sussex anticipated to make during a June meeting was a little more than $4.6 million, with a majority of that money going toward the farmland acquisition in 2012, which would have cost nearly $2.4 million. The remaining costs come from the improvements to the land in 2013 like adding sewer, water and constructing roads.
An engineer the village hired mid-June to do more detailed surveys of the 120 acres of farmland behind Kohl's and Shopko came back with higher numbers than Sussex officials anticipated, according to Smith.
"The new estimates were more than a million dollars more than we anticipated," Smith said. "They were significant enough were I'm going to recommend we no longer proceed with the project."
Smith said while he can’t officially anticipate how the Village Board members will vote July 24, he guesses they’ll choose to end the project at that meeting.
"The new estimates were more than a million dollars more than we anticipated."
This comes after Pete Meissner, co-owner of the Meissner family farm, threatened to pull more than 600 heads of cattle from the village if the business park was approved. Meissner says the 120-acre plot of farmland Sussex was looking to buy is vital to his cattle industry in the village.
And Meissner wasn't the only Sussex-area resident opposed to the new business park. During the June 12 Village Board meeting, multiple residents, including Meissner, took to the podium to lash out against the possible corporate center.
"Did you take an oath to work for the people or work for yourselves?" asked Lisbon resident Sheryl Plese. "Are you doing what the people of Sussex want, or are you in your little circle here and having your meetings in the back room? What I’ve heard tonight is that all the industrial potential is good, but everybody knows what the market is now, and everybody knows there are buildings standing empty all over this town, this state and this country."
The controversial project, which stems from developer MLG refusing to purchase the land before developing it, will likely be killed during the next Village Board meeting.
The July 24 meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Village Hall.