Credit: Google Earth

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Members of the city’s economic development committee on Tuesday will review a proposal to purchase the former Ponderosa Motel from Marathon County for about $73,000.

The County took ownership of the motel, at 2101 Grand Ave., Wausau, in December in an effort to recover unpaid property taxes dating back to 2013. Property values at the motel had declined steadily since 1998 and plummeted in 2015 when a blaze ripped through the building, displacing about 30 long-term residents. Officials said the Aug. 17, 2015 fire was caused by negligent use of burning materials, possibly a cigarette.

Unpaid property taxes at the site totaled more than $63,000 when the property changed hands. In addition, the county spent about $9,400 on environmental site assessments and other costs associated with the building, according to city documents. The total value of the property in 1998 was $217,900, according to the Marathon County Land Records system; the value dropped to $150,000 in 2016.

Neighborhood residents have complained repeatedly about the property, which has continued to deteriorate since the fire. The motel’s previous owner, Rajshree Inc., of Weston, was issued repeated assessments for noxious weeds, snow removal and delinquent utilities in recent years, county records show.

The Wausau committee meets at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall, 407 Grant St., and will likely discuss the purchase in both open and closed session. See the full packet here.

Top photo: Google Earth