Balers and heavy mowers took to the JDC grounds on Thursday to cut down the high grass that’s been plaguing the property for nearly a month.
State Representative CD Davidsmeyer says that talks with the state’s Central Management Services have been ongoing, almost daily, over that month trying to get something done to clean up the property: “The last couple weeks…I would say about every couple of days, I was regularly in contact with CMS and there was a little bit of back and forth saying ‘Yeah, that’s progress but you need a little more.’ It’s good to see that they’ve brought in kind of a bigger mower to get the big weeds out. They brought in a bailer. There was probably…I would guess 30-50 bales on the JDC property. It is the plan for them to continue to mow that area that’s already been mowed. Certainly, there’s more property that’s in there that needs mowed that we are still working on, but we are taking this as a small win and a step towards getting more done and having the state maintain that property.”
Davidsmeyer says that conversations about selling the property have been ongoing for a better part of a decade at this point, and the state views the ground as unable to be sold because of all the problems with the buildings: “The liability on the property doesn’t give it the value that the state wants it to have. In reality, I think you would almost have to pay somebody to take it unless you’re willing to tear down those buildings and then sell it. Obviously the power plant area is a huge concern. I’m looking into possibly Brown Fields funds to try and get some action on cleaning up that [portion] of the property. There’s a lot of ideas that have been floating around that we’ve given this administration and the prior administration on funding. It seems to always fall on deaf ears. So, we just keep pushing, trying to move forward. In the mean time, I’m going to work legislation that won’t let the state to continue to abandoned properties. If they are going to close a facility, they need to have a plan for what they are going to do with it.”
Davidsmeyer says the state’s plan for now is to continue to mow the grounds so they don’t have to bail the property again. For now, he says he’s going to continue to push the state to find a way to get the property cleaned up, sold, and put back to use.