Developer finds land to swap for Bugline trail
Trail may be moved north of development
Village of Sussex - Waukesha County and Village of Sussex officials are indicating they may be on the verge of agreement with developer Arthur Sawall that will pave the way for the development of the former Mammoth Springs Cannery Company site at Main Street and Waukesha Avenue into a multi-use downtown resident, retail and commercial complex.
Sawall and the local officials have apparently identified a route that will enable them to transfer about an acre of the Bugline Recreational Trail from the center of Sawall's property to a location north of the cannery site.
Transferring the trail land from the center of the site onto another location where the trail can continue is essential to Sawall's plans to develop the site. Sawall, county and village officials have been seeking an appropriate approximately one-acre parcel of land for about a year.
Sawall's development of the site is a crucial component to the village's plans to redevelop two sections of Main Street. The area comprises commercial and residential neighborhoods near the intersection of Main Street and Waukesha Avenue and residential, commercial and governmental neighborhoods located near Village Hall and Piggly Wiggly.
The village's ability to provide real estate tax incentives to redevelop the neighborhoods depends heavily on real estate tax and other revenues from a successful development at the cannery site.
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith acknowledged last week that the negotiations between Sawall, the county, and the village, had taken "a positive step toward resolution of the issues" involved in the land transfer.
Duane Grimm, Waukesha County Park Services Manager, was a little bit more specific in an interview with the Sun Monday morning.
Grimm said the parties have identified potential privately owned and village lands north of the cannery site that would extend the trail from Waukesha Avenue, near Madeline Park, west and south to a location adjacent to the cannery site.
Grimm declined to be more specific about the public and private lands that might be used in the development of the new trail site because Sewell was in negotiations with the private land owners and the village.
But Grimm expressed confidence that the land transfer would meet state and federal regulatory requirements if Sawall could close the deal.
Smith also declined to provide more specific information.
"Mr. Sawall is in the process of talking to some of neighbors and we don't want to get ahead of him," Smith said.
Sawall could not be reached for comment.
The Bugline railway right of way was located in the center of the cannery to accommodate freight trains that carried cargo to and from the cannery.
After the cannery closed, the federal government provided funds to Waukesha County to purchase the right of way to be used as part of the recreational trial that extends from the Village of Merton about 11 miles east of Menomonee Falls.
Federal regulations require that the land can only be used for recreational purpose unless it can be replaced with a similar tract of land of equivalent value. In addition, county officials were requiring that any land swap will allow the trial to continue.
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