January 16, 2019
By Cara Spoto
Also rejects condo developer’s settlement offer, asks city attorney to continue talks
Waukesha — A swath of agricultural land at the southeastern edge of Minooka Park in New Berlin will someday be home to a key piece of infrastructure needed to bring Great Lakes water to taps across Waukesha.
The Common Council voted 12-0 on Tuesday to purchase an 8.57-acre parcel from Waukesha County for $223,000 to use as the future site of a booster pumping station and water storage reservoirs.
According to Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak, the booster station and reservoirs will be a benefit to the city because they will give the utility greater control over the quality and amount of water that enters Waukesha’s system.
The booster station and storage tanks themselves are expected to cost between $40 and $50 million to construct, Duchniak said.
“When we went through everything, it was determined that it would be best for any (Great Lakes Water supplier) to just put the water into storage tanks before it comes into the city,” Duchniak said in December. “That way if there is any (extra treatment) that needs to take place, we can do it in one spot, and then we have control of the pumping of the water into our system. It makes the operations very clean.”
Speaking to aldermen on Tuesday, Duchniak said the reservoirs will each hold nine million gallons, giving the city a two-and-a-half days’ supply of water, in addition to any water already existing in the system.
“So in the event that anything happens on the line, we will have an ample supply,” he said.
There was little discussion on the proposal, although aldermen Eric Payne and Joe Pieper did offer a pair of cryptic statements that seemed to be directed mainly towards the county.
“I am going to support it, but I am not supporting it because I think Waukesha County is giving us a good deal on the purchase of this property,” Payne said. “I am going to support this, because of the need to have this. We need it to service customers, and to supply safe drinking water to the city. That’s the only reason I am supporting it.”
Pieper said that “while he shared some of Payne’s sentiments,” he thought the land agreement was a good example of what can happen “when the city and county work together for a common goal and keep everything above board.”
“I just want to commend the work of Dan and the water utility in working with the county in a very constructive manner to put this agreement together,” he said.
Located near the corner of Swartz Road and Racine Avenue, the land where the booster station will be located had originally been eyed as a site for a golf course, but the county no longer plans to increase the number of golf courses it owns. County staff also feel the parcel is too small for other types of development
The County Board approved the sale of the land late last year.
No deal on Mill Reserve
In other items, the council opted to reject an offer from Mill Reserve, LLC., to settle a long-running legal dispute with the condo developer over its alleged failure to construct an apartment development at its existing condo site at St. Paul and Wisconsin avenues.
The city filed a motion this spring asking for the 2015 lawsuit against the developer to be reopened, alleging it failed to honor the terms of a 2016 settlement agreement. In May a local judge granted that motion.
On Tuesday, aldermen emerged from a brief closed session discussion about a possible settlement agreement, directing City Attorney Brian Running “to continue as directed by the Common Council.”
Running said after the meeting that he had essentially been directed to continue negotiations with the developer.