Episode 42

Published on:

16th May 2022

New Developments in Hartford, Wis., with Steve Volkert

There are a ton of great things going on in the City of Hartford, Wis. This week, City Administrator Steve Volkert joins me to talk about the new Festival Foods, the newly rebuilt Culver's, some industrial developments, park upgrades, and some upcoming events happening in the City.

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Fuzz Martin 0:00

Hey happy summer, y'all. We went from frozen tundra to tank tops real quick like, didn't we? But I've mowed the lawn twice and I'm here for it. Yes, I know some people were calling for a "no mow May." But if you know me one, I would have ended up in therapy. Not that there's anything wrong with therapy, I just would have ended up with more therapy, we'll say. Or two, I would have had to quadruple cut my lawn. And that would have meant hauling like three loads of grass clippings to the landfill in June. So we're going to just call this one a draw. And I'm going to keep mowing my lawn. But you do you if you don't want to, that's fine. This week, city administrator Steve Volkert joins me to talk about all the great things going on in the city of Hartford, Wisconsin. Right now, there's a lot of fun development taking place. And the city is abuzz with great recreational activities, events, and fun places to dine. So get ready for Fifteen Minutes on the City of Hartford with Steve Volkert on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

Fuzz Martin 1:34

Steve, thanks for joining the show today. Hartford has been every time I drive past and drive thru or stop in and have a meal or recently went to a wedding. Every time I go through things in Hartford seem to be growing and developing and modernizing. And it's always seems to be alive.

Steve Volkert 1:54

Yeah, absolutely. Hartford is definitely something that you know, a place that more people are moving to and when people move to a community that businesses and developers take notice. And they want to be part of it.

Fuzz Martin 2:06

With that there was the old Kmart building which obviously Kmart had its its woes back in the day and as moved out. And that building sat there blighted for a bit, but now we've got some exciting development going on there.

Steve Volkert 2:21

Yeah, so the Festival Foods company, who is based out of northeastern Wisconsin purchased the entire block, in essence. And they are they have tore down the original Kmart building, they are in the process of building a new Festival Foods, it will be modeled much like their other southeastern Wisconsin brand new facilities, I will have a drive through coffee shop, you know, a lot of other amenities that they have in their models in the southeastern Wisconsin area. And then after they've finished that, and that'll be opening probably around July 1. And then there's also a new strip mall right in front of that it's it's six tenants inside there. We do not know who all the tenants are yet they're telling us that five out of six of the sponsor are filled are great, but they're not releasing who those are sure, we would anticipate that two or three of the current tenants in the strip mall to the west of where Festival Foods will be be moving over there. Okay, but we don't know that for a fact. And then where the strip mall is now to the west of Festival Foods, they will be tearing that all down including the old Sentry Foods for those who remember that. And then there'll be building a brand new building there. We don't know what exactly it is. However, they did ask for a zoning change to mixed use which would be commercial on the bottom. Residential on the top. Okay, so we're looking forward to seeing what happens there. And then you're thinking inside or in front along Highway 60 of this entire block. There's former Ponderosa Yeah. With those. Remember what Ponderosa restaurant used to be. That one, of course closed about a year ago, and that is now the new home of Culvers. It'll be opening also about July 1.

Fuzz Martin 4:05

Okay, about July 1. I just drove past the other day and saw that it was it was getting close.

Steve Volkert 4:10

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. People are excited. It's funny in small towns where they get excited about colors, and things like that, which is awesome. We miss Culvers. We love Culvers. It's been down since September 11 of last year. And so we're we're excited to have a new one.

Fuzz Martin 4:26

Very good now, not only on the retail and the shopping and commercial side of things, but there's also a number of new businesses going into the industrial park as well, right.

Steve Volkert 4:37

Yeah, we've got a new business. It's going to be building probably this late summer, early fall. Then, along with it, what a few other industrial businesses are looking to expand or have expanded this spring. And there's obviously the need for the services and the products in which they're providing industrial park. That's the reason that they're expanding. And there's also a lot of adding to automate. Should all these businesses need employees? And if they can't get employees, then they're looking at how can you add automation to continue to create the widgets that they make? So it's right. So

Fuzz Martin 5:12

right. Moving from the industrial park over to downtown. There are going to be some developments at Centennial Park there and tell us about those.

Steve Volkert 5:21

Yeah, so Centennial Park is what we'll call just to the east of the post office, or on the northern banks of the millpond, right in downtown Rubicon River millpond. And so that's been kind of just a greenfield for a long time. It's had a path going through it, but it's pretty much it's a Greenfield. And now we're going to be adding a new pavilion, it's going to have a performing area, a staging area, bathrooms, which were not there before. In a closed area in which someone could rent if you have a family event that you'd like to have outdoors or indoors, you can rent that area. And it will also have like new playground equipment out there for kids of different ages and different abilities. Yeah, so in an exercise, exercise stops for those that know, parklands. You can have along the trail, you'll have different exercises you can do along the trail.

Fuzz Martin 6:18

Oh, that's great. So you guys are also putting in a kayak launch there too, right?

Steve Volkert 6:21

Yeah, so the north wall of that millpond is being redone right now. It actually will be will start in August. It'll be done in November. There's a reason why you do it and fall versus doing it in summer or spring. as efficient. Everything else I'll show you a DNR wants to make sure that you're not disrupting them. That makes sense. We're going to be putting in a new northern wall, which will be done by Wonder construction. And we're excited about the idea of it. Yeah, like you said a kayak, launch a new boat launch and add a fishing pier. So a lot of reasons to come down to that millpond area, or fishing or boating or kayaking or whatever it'll be. That'd be great attraction for the middle of downtown.

Fuzz Martin 7:01

Absolutely. Well, that's great. And that that'd be good to see that that area being made so that more people want to come and make use of that beautiful spot in Hartford. And have people be able to take advantage of that. Whether they're residents or government from wherever them

Steve Volkert 7:18

Yeah, well, we'd love to have a lot more visitors come come into downtown. Of course, if they're going to come into downtown and do some kayaking, or they're going to do some boating, they're gonna do some fishing. Hopefully, they also stopped by some of the restaurants or the the stores that we have in downtown downtown Hartford truly only has about one vacant building in the entire downtown. sure a lot of new businesses have come to downtown in the last three years. It just had a brand new one Horizon Outfitters, which again, is doing kayaking, and camping and outdoor walking trips and things like that. So sure, we're excited about having those types of businesses in downtown and they all kind of melt together real well. And yeah, very good.

Fuzz Martin 7:55

And speaking of that, so if you are going to be coming into Hartford on Saturdays, starting this weekend of after the date of this show airs September 20. Excuse me, way ahead of time, on May 21. The Hartford farmers market begins, right?

Steve Volkert 8:10

Yeah. So the Saturday morning farmers market will start and that's going to be taking place in Jordan Park that's located in the parking lot of the Schauer Center, the Auto Museum, the rec center, they all share the same parking lot. So that's Saturday mornings. And we'll also have a Thursday evening. Farmers Market that moved from Wednesday night, which was in the library parking lot to now Thursday night. And this time, it'll be inside of the courtyard of the Schauer Center. So you were there for your your vegetables, your flowers, everything at a at a farmers market. But then also there's live music, there's great drinks, there's all sorts of things food you can take advantage of, at the shower site. So it'll be a very cool event recently to get people to come in on Thursday nights to downtown Hartford.

Fuzz Martin 8:56

Excellent. And then also on the Saturday after this air. So on Saturday, the 21st There's the annual car show, right?

Steve Volkert 9:05

Yeah, the 12th annual car show it's classic car show. And it's in downtown Hartford. So if you you can't miss it. If you drive into Hartford on Highway 60 or Highway 83 coming in, down. You're gonna see in the downtown area, it'll be Lined with bars from all all years and I'll make some models. If you'd like more information on that you can contact the Chamber of Commerce but it's a great event. Come on down take a look at the cars enjoy the people and while you're there, you can do some shopping.

Fuzz Martin 9:31

All right, very good. Anything at any other big things on the horizon for Hartford,

Steve Volkert 9:35

You know, there's always surprises us when someone asks about well, what's what else is going on? Of course, there's you know, people always ask what's going on with the old Culvers used to be Oh, yeah, that's kind of like a big deal to her. I have no idea why. We just know it's a commercial business. Because they haven't asked for a zoning change. And so that will be coming up by in summer. Okay for fall. So, yeah, look forward to that.

Fuzz Martin 9:58

All right. Very good. Well, Well, Steve, I really appreciate you coming on and talking to us about all the things going on in Hartford. You're welcome back anytime, and we appreciate you coming on the show. Thank you.

Fuzz Martin:

Thank you again to Hartford City Administrator Steve Volkert for joining me on this week's episode of 15 minutes with Fuzz. If you ever have an idea for the show, if there's something you want to hear, something you think I should hear about whatever it is, don't hesitate to reach out. There's a handy little forum if you go to fuzz.cc slash guest that is fuzz.cc/guest. New episodes come out every Monday morning. And lots of fun things are coming up for you. I do appreciate you listening. And when you subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify or Google podcasts. Thank you. And thank you again for listening. We'll talk to you next time right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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About the Podcast

Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
Showcasing the positive things happening in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is sheds light on all the great things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. The host, Fuzz Martin, is a local business owner (EPIC Creative) and a former radio personality (92.5 WBWI - now Buzz Country). New episodes launch on Tuesday mornings. https://fifteenwithfuzz.com

Whether you're in West Bend, Kewaskum, Slinger, Hartford, Germantown, Richfield, Jackson, or anywhere else in the area, 15 Minutes with Fuzz serves the community with fun and positive people, places, events, and attractions.

About your host

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Fuzz Martin

Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.