Viewpoint: Kwik Trip location on current county site would be a plus for Rhinelander
A few years ago, the Community Resource Agent at the University of Wisconsin Extension-Oneida County joined the Rhinelander City Manager and a Rhinelander Councilman at a regional conference of the International Council of Shopping Centers. At that conference, they were able to give a quick pitch to conference attendees regarding the merits and value of expanding their business to Rhinelander as well as to staff an informational table to provide geographical and demographic data concerning our fair city.
One of the companies they spoke with was Kwik Trip Corporation. When Kwik Trip showed interest in Rhinelander and asked about potential locations, the Kemp Street location where the Oneida County maintenance garage is located was suggested as a possible site. That was a good idea then; and it is a good idea now.
That location, just off of junction of Hwy 8 and Hwys 17 and 47 is a major entryway to the city. However, that area has not developed as well as the properties on the east side of town. One of the reasons is that it is the location of a very unaesthetic compilation of structures that house the county maintenance vehicles and salt/sand storage for winter road care. Structures like these were not built to look good, but to function well. However, as any developer will tell you, entries to communities need to be welcoming and aesthetically pleasing to attract appropriate development.
County vehicles need a functional space to be stored and maintained and no one in northern Wisconsin doubts the need for salt and sand storage for winter months. The fact is that these county structures can be located on much less valuable property and leave high value and highly taxable property available for private business development. Given Kwik Trip’s reputation for building aesthetically pleasing structures that they keep well maintained and given their reputation for encouraging other high quality development near their stores, the Oneida County Board has a tremendous opportunity to help create an attractive western gateway to the city of Rhinelander. Working cooperatively with the city of Rhinelander and the Kwik Trip Corporation, I feel that they can, through proper due diligence, create a western entry to the city of Rhinelander that we all can be proud of.
Dan Kuzlik, Rhinelander