Onalaska city officials don’t know exactly what kind of project is coming from Mayo Clinic Health System, but they know it’s big and they want to be ready.
The city’s Board of Public Works voted unanimously Tuesday to allot up to $15,000 to pay consultants to help with planning infrastructure improvements needed in conjunction with development of Mayo’s property. The funding is up for approval next Tuesday before the full Onalaska Common Council.
Mayo has purchased 187 acres of undeveloped land east of Sand Lake Road near Menards, with roughly 80 acres of the land suitable for development. Onalaska City Engineer Jarrod Holter said he has talked with an engineer representing Mayo about infrastructure that might be needed to serve the development, including road improvements, sewer and water and stormwater drainage.
Holter said no specifics on what is planned or where structures will be situated on the site have been offered by Mayo. “They have expressed that they are working on plans for future development of the site,” he said.
In December, Mayo officials expressed opposition to the Badger-Coulee power line project, which could pass through the southern end of the Mayo property if the southern route is chosen. At that time, Mayo officials indicated the property would be developed “health-care services,” possibly involving “specialty practices.”
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Based on Mayo’s preliminary estimates of traffic to be generated by the development, Holter said it looks to be a very large project that could require additional lanes on Sand Lake Road, especially if the Mayo project spurs additional development on the vacant land to the north owned by Elmwood Partners.
Holter said it’s likely that further planning for development of the Mayo site will be complex, so he sought city approval to spend up to $15,000 for engineering consulting costs, with up to $3,000 for Short Elliott Hendrickson and up to $12,000 for Strand Associates.
“These plans are far reaching and will have a big impact on city infrastructure,” Holter said. “These are things that we just do not deal with every day.”
Holter expects the city will have to get into more detail planning the infrastructure within the next few months. Mayo’s plans could be dependent on which route is chosen for the Badger-Coulee line, with a final decision expected from the state’s Public Service Commission in May.