WAUSAU — The city paid $1.1 million in September for 87.7 acres of land, much of which lies within the village of Maine, as part of a long-range plan for a future water well, according to city documents.

The total assessed value of the land purchased is $476,900, less than half of the city’s purchase price, according to Marathon County land records. The sale was recorded Sept. 27 by the Marathon County Register of Deeds.

The property, formerly owned by Mathy Construction, includes a mix of commercial, residential, undeveloped, and forest land centered on addresses at 700 Bugbee Ave. and 1805 N. Burek Ave. The Wausau City Council on July 18 voted 10-1 to approve the sale, with Dennis Smith casting the lone nay vote.

At the July 18 meeting, council member Romey Wagner questioned why the city needed to acquire 87.7 acres for a future potential well, noting that wells in the city typically cover less than one third of an acre. But Public Works Director Eric Lindman explained that the previous owner did not want to sell just one piece of the property.

In addition, Lindman said, the property holds “potential development possibilities” for the property by the city. Wausau is unable to annex land within the village of Maine, an issue that has been hotly contested in the legal system since December 2015, when Maine incorporated into a village.

Wausau has performed test drilling in the area, Lindman told council members, and tests at the site showed promise with the best quantity and quantity of water available.

“This is long-term planning,” Lindman said. “We don’t foresee a new well for about 8 to 10 years.”

The city is using all of its current wells, two of which are being used around the clock, Lindman said.

Council member Pat Peckham asked Lindman if he believed paying roughly $12,540 an acre for the land was reasonable. Lindman said he worked with the assessment department about a year ago trying to determine a value for the combined properties, which he said would be at about $8,000 per acre on the low end and between $12,000 and $13,000 per acre on the high end.

“We’re on the high end,” Lindman said. “[The price] started out at $1.3 million and we came to an agreement at $1.1 million.”

During the meeting, council member Joe Gehin said he firmly believed that buying the property is in the best interest of the city as a way to protect the water supply.

10 replies on “Docs: City’s $1.1M land purchase is for potential future well”

  1. What is wrong with the property at 700 Bugbee Ave, Wausau, WI 54401 ?
    Check it on Zillow .. 10 acres in the city of Wausau was for sale for $99.000.
    Now if the city has an ego issues to purchase the whole Wisconsin they should not use excuses.
    Buy couple acres, get your water as spare us wasting our hard earned tax dollars.
    All you do waste millions as if you are some developers.

  2. There honestly isn’t a facepalm big enough to describe the rampant incompetence of our city “leaders” (I’d use another term, but….).

  3. Holy h_ll, the City just spent taxpayer money buying land for more than twice it’s appraised value?!?

    Breathtakingly irresponsible fiscal decision, yet again, by Council.

  4. But Max, I heard they’re hoping to build a cinema there if the well thing doesn’t work out!

  5. The most amazing point of the entire matter is that only one alderman voted against the purchase. Even more amazing is the fact that a number of the Council members who voted for the measure ran unopposed in the last election. Maybe the old saying, “you get the kind of government you deserve.” Is very true.

  6. The people who voted for the purchase were elected by the same citizens who now disapprove of that purchase. Strange isn’t it.

  7. It appears that a not-insignificant portion of the land purchased may have once been a mining operation. Wisconsin has very detailed, specific requiremenets about reclamation of mined land. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lc/information_memos/2013/im_2013_04

    If such is the case, was any of this known before the land was purchased? Was the purchase completely and thoroughly vetted legally,in that regard?? Did Mathy Construction have a state-approved reclamation plan? Were there commitments made by Mathy in their plan that the City ended up assuming as part of the purchase, and thus there may be additional cost to City taxpayers?

    Here’s hoping that the areas of the land purchased, that looks like it was a mining operation, is not really considered “mining operations” and all of this is not applicable.

  8. In all of the City of Wausau’s boundaries there wasn’t any location for a future potential well. Coincidentally, the new “potential” well in not half a mile away in the village of Maine, it is just at annexing distance of the city of Wausau. Areal view indicates mining activities and commercial landfills.
    Most likely, next will be environmental remediation, MAYBE use an acre for a well, the rest will be offered for free with $ incentives to some developer seeking freebies. Promotion and raising salaries for a job well done. We will be told our taxes will be slightly higher.

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