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Menasha may initially cover cost of Whiting Mill demolition

Published: May. 17, 2021 at 9:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 9:34 PM CDT
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MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s been more than two weeks since a fire destroyed the Whiting Paper Mill in Menasha, but according to a memo given to city council members Monday, taxpayers could initially pick up the tab for demolition.

RELATED: Police: Menasha mill walls unstable, could collapse

In the memo, the city states that the owner, Danz Real Estate, LLC has “no ability or plans to undertake any work associated to the site including securing the premise or undertaking the razing of the building.”

The city issued its raze order, May 5th.

However, some on the council say, they were left in the dark.

“We need to start opening up a little dialogue here when we’re doing these things. I understand the safety issue and that but it sets a precedence here that I’m concerned about,” said Menasha Council President Stan Sevenich, during a meeting Monday night.

Menasha Alderman James Taylor added, “In situations that are that visible to the public, I would appreciate better communications with what’s happening with a property like that.”

The memo goes on to say, “At this time, staff is working on obtaining a few quotes to demolish the site.”

If this happens, the city would bill the property’s owner.

As well, the memo reveals that the property, hasn’t paid taxes since 2017, or utilities since 2016. This debt, comes to roughly $700,000 according to city records.

Just after the fire, the city had to work with a demolition contractor to stabilize the scene, and provide a fence to keep people away.

RELATED: Menasha votes to have former Whiting Mill property declared blighted

Sevenich added, ”Obviously, it was an unprecedented situation where resources of the city was used and they weren’t necessarily approved by this body.”

Further action will require a council vote, but city officials seem confident that if they make this initial investment to clean up the property the money will come back eventually, thru a redevelopment agreement.

On the day after the fire, the council voted to begin a process to deem the property as blighted.

You can read the full memo below.

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