JEFFERSON — Jefferson officials remain focused on purchasing 35 acres of the former Meadow Springs Golf Club to add housing and a nature conservancy, with city leaders advocating — albeit some reluctantly — that the once-charming clubhouse be razed via a fire department controlled burn.

The city’s administration provided information to the common council and members of the public Thursday evening on the status of the proposed Meadow Springs property acquisition, as well as one the city wants to make at the AgVenture Spangler Seed property north of West Racine Street just south of the Jefferson County Fair Park.

Both purchases would allow for developers to add much-needed housing in the city. A nature conservancy, with a public path, would be part of the Meadow Springs project.

City officials said Meadow Springs housing would be of a more upscale, condominium and single-family variety, while the Spangler site likely would see apartments and less expensive, single-family dwellings.

City Administrator Tim Freitag said Jefferson’s acquisition of the Meadow Springs site is on schedule, with closing likely in February of 2021. Financial details of both purchases are pending, but in December of 2020, the fair market value of the Meadow Springs property was estimated to be $420,000.

At that time, city officials said, it was possible the city could pay perhaps $225,000 if a deal was acceptable to the city and property owners Madison Golf and Development Group. Madison Golf then would take what Freitag called “a charitable (tax) write-off to bring them back up to fair market compensation for the site if it were to fall into a nature conservancy classification.”

“Everything is right on track,” Freitag said Thursday.

Several residents who own single-family homes on Linden Drive near Meadow Springs, told the council Thursday that they are against the addition of duplex-style condominiums adjacent to their houses.

Tracy Carson, who lives on Linden Drive, said duplexes would disrupt the original design of the neighborhood. She also said she did not want to see an increase in vehicular traffic.

“We want to keep our old, historic neighborhood,” Carson said.

Another Linden Drive-area resident said she liked the idea of the nature conservancy, but could not support the concept of adding duplexes and condos. She said single-family homes would fit better.

What to do with the deteriorated clubhouse on the site also was a subject that dominated the evening’s discussion.

“It’s safe to say the building is in a very deteriorated condition,” Freitag said, adding that options for use of the two-acre parcel of land on which the clubhouse sits is limited by its residential zoning.

“It would take a lot of money to bring it back,” Freitag said of mold and vandalism that has occurred at the facility.

Former mayor and now Alderman Bill Brandel said he would be sad to see the clubhouse go, but realized its razing is necessary.

“It was once a charming building, but it’s not charming anymore,” Brandel said.

The council was in unanimous agreement that the structure should be burned and cleared away.

Freitag said some asbestos abatement must be performed, after which the Jefferson Fire Department will be offered the opportunity to do some practice work with the structure. Firefighters’ time in the building would culminate with the controlled burn.

City engineer Bill Pinnow said residents of the area should be aware that surveyors will be working at the property in the coming days.

He said lots along the property’s east side, on Dewey Avenue, should be available for sale in March, adding that construction of homes there will improve the city’s tax base, as well as create more and better housing in Jefferson.

The future of the Meadow Springs property and the city’s role in it will likely come back to the common council’s agenda for discussion and final approval in December.

Freitag said the city is having success in its negotiations on the 15 acres south of the Jefferson County Fair Park that officials call the “Spangler site.”

Freitag said the city wants to close on the property in January of 2021 and use it for additional housing. He added that utilities will be placed to foster development opportunities. Taft Avenue would be extended north, allowing the property to link with West Racine Street.

AgVenture Spangler Seed Vice President Jeff Spangler said Friday that he is optimistic his firm and the city will reach an accord on the sale in early 2021. Spangler said his business no longer needs the property and that Spangler will remain in full operation, just on a slightly smaller footprint.

“We have a lot more acres,” Spangler said. “The city approached us six years ago and they have had an interest in it. It’s in a Tax Incremental Financing district.”

Pinnow said the city is in a phase of “due diligence” at the Spangler site. This includes making soil borings and conducting boundary surveys.

Construction of multifamily and starter homes could see Phase 1 inception early next year, according to Freitag. He added the council will likely take up the matter again in December.

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