Oneida County Board rejects buying Foster and Smith property
By Ken Krall
The Oneida County Board has ended its interest in buying the Foster and Smith property which will soon be mostly vacated on Rhinelander’s far west side.
The county put together a committee to study the possibility of buying the property with an eye toward possibly moving the highway department and other county business there. It was suggested the facility was large enough that some of the property could be leased out to the private sector.
Supervisor Bob Mott was leading the study committee and after a few meetings said many questions needed to be answered. He told the board the property needed a thorough inspection, and they were having trouble getting a set of blueprints..
“The committee has no blueprints, I don’t want to use the term b.s., but gosh darn, we’ve asked this company a number of times for blueprints,” Mott said. “If you don’t have blueprints you can’t ask somebody to go through a building and ask for an evaluation.“
Mott asked the board for a two month delay to get more information before making another report. All that came to halt later. Supervisor Scott Holowinski went through a list of failed Oneida county real estate deals and said this one had the potential to be a major failure. He questioned the need to abandon the current highway shops. Kwik Trip has an interest in that property.
A resolution to hire a consulting firm to inspect the building was turned down, with an initial cost of $15,000, which possibly could have gone up much higher as the project went on.
After the board rejected hiring the firm, the board voted 17-2 to eliminate the Petco building study committee and to end the county’s interest in purchasing the property.
Petco announced in January the closure of the plant formerly owned locally by Drs. Foster and Smith.