Unknown Speaker 0:00
Fuzz Martin 0:08
Ope, just gonna scooch right in here. Thanks for listening to Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. I'm your host Fuzz Martin, and each week, we explore the good things happening in our area. Why me? No idea. I have a microphone and a podcast hosting service that I subscribe to. That's it, but I do appreciate you listening to the show each and every week. If you'd like to help the show, please consider filling out my survey at fuzz.cc/survey that is "fuzz" f u z z . c c / survey. Your answers will help me guide what you hear on this show. This week, I'm joined by Slinger's Village President Scott Stortz. Scott talks a lot about the new updates and developments happening here in Slinger, and I've been wanting to do this episode for a long time. And it's finally here. And with that, here are 15 minutes on Slinger with Scott Stortz on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.
Fuzz Martin 1:26
President Stortz thank you for joining me today on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz I appreciate you coming in. And let's start off by letting the listeners know a bit about who you are. So you obviously you're the village president in Slinger, but you're the owner of Star Properties. How long you been doing that?
Scott Stortz 1:43
So I'm in my 32nd year of real estate and started Star Properties about 27 years ago now.
Fuzz Martin 1:47
Okay, what do you guys specialize in at Star?
Scott Stortz 1:50
We do specialize in residential sales. But we do a fair amount of commercial depending on the type of commercial but I would have to say 90 95% of what we do is residential sales.
Fuzz Martin 1:59
Have you always been from the Slinger area? Or how long have you been in the area?
Scott Stortz 2:03
I've been Washington County my whole life. Okay, I grew up in Richfield, went to Hartford High School, after my wife and I got married nearly 30 years ago. We are we first settled in Jackson. Okay, kind of got my taste in local politics. From there. We spent some time in Kewaskum. And then we moved to Slinger about 13 years ago.
Fuzz Martin 2:19
So you've touched like everywhere in Washington County, pretty much, pretty much. Well, welcome to West Bend today. Now, how long have you been the village president in Slinger?
Scott Stortz 2:29
I'm just finishing up my first term. So I'll be starting my second term in April, assuming I get reelected, which I have a pretty good shot since nobody decided to run against me.
Fuzz Martin 2:36
Sounds good. So were you a trustee before then? Or do you just went ran right for village president?
Scott Stortz 2:41
I went right for village president. It's kind of a an interesting story. I had really no intentions. And then I was approached by a couple of community leaders. And they asked me if I'd be willing to come to a meeting because they had found out that Ross Brandt was going to not run again, he was going to retire. And they wanted to kind of form a committee to see who they could identify that maybe they could back take on this this role. And lo and behold, all of a sudden, all eyes started to look at me in the room. And I kind of felt like, ah, but I think somebody's not identified already. So they asked me point blank, if that's something I've considered, they knew my background, former Washington County supervisor was very involved in Jackson when I lived there, a trustee and whatnot. And I told him, I said, You know what, give me 48 hours, I need to talk to my staff. And I need to talk to my family. Because if I don't have the backing of my employees, and if I don't have the backing in my family, that I'm not going to do this. And I took the time I met with all of those folks. And 100% said, do it. You're the guy we trust you. We know that there's going to be some tough decisions once in a while. But we've got your back. And with that, I got the green light from the people that are most important in my life. And I threw my hat in the ring.
Fuzz Martin 3:56
Now you've been the village president for two years. So in that time, what if What things have you found joy in as being the village president?
Scott Stortz 4:05
I think the number one thing by far is the connections I've made with the residents and Slinger. I've gotten so involved in things like Slinger, kiwannis and Rotary, the museum, on and on and on music in the park, our park and rec department everything just being out and about and meeting people and listening. And to me, that's the number one thing I've it's a constant learning process. It's been really interesting to get a deeper dive into budgeting. I mean, I was familiar with it on a county level and when I also was a trustee in Jackson, but as village president, you're in a whole nother level. They're just working with staff working at high level budgeting. All of that stuff has been awesome. But connecting with the residents has just been for me it's been a blast.
Fuzz Martin 4:51
So I was able to look at some of the information you put out during the year first state of the village address which took place I believe in January or
Scott Stortz 4:59
It was actually my second but yeah
Fuzz Martin 5:01
It was your second—excuse me. Yeah. And the most recent one. Yeah, there is a lot of good things. There are a lot of good things happening in Slinger right now.
Scott Stortz 5:09
Yes, absolutely. Coming from a marketing background, I kind of feel that one of my number one responsibilities is village president is to market the village, we started Discover Slinger magazine, which has been extremely popular. We're coming out with our next issue in next month of Facebook page, which is very active. And people seem to love it, revamping our website and go down the list of all the things that we're doing. But that that's really gotten the ball rolling to get the word out there. It's made the phone ring, it's gotten developers to call us to say, Hey, what is going on over there? What are you guys doing? It is marketing, in a sense, it's just a different type of marketing. And it's really caused a buzz. And it's really gotten some attention. And it's gotten developers to take a closer look at us and meet with us. And we're gonna see a lot of positive things happen in the next 24 months. I believe in Slinger
Fuzz Martin 6:01
Real quick about that. Discover Slinger magazine is that, are you working with school on that?
Scott Stortz 6:06
So what I saw, yeah, it's a joint venture between us. And the Slinger school district that magazine itself is paid for by the advertisers. The only cost that we have is just the mailing in the school district and the village share in that. And they get half the magazine, we get half the magazine as a village. And we have interesting articles about what's going on. And then it goes out to every single person in the Slinger school district. So they don't have to live in the village of Slinger as long as they're in the Slinger School District. That's the mailing list. And then we we print out hundreds of extra copies that we distributed to businesses in town where they can hand them out. But it's been really well received, it's it really is a phenomenal magazine,
Fuzz Martin 6:43
I really think that making the village and making, you know, local municipalities accessible to the constituents is important to make sure as a democracy that everybody's participating. Kudos to you for connecting that and putting that together, I think that's a great way to get the community involved.
Scott Stortz 7:01
Thank you, not everybody wants to be involved at such a high level, and I get it, we're all busy, but they want to be informed. And you've got to inform people in multiple ways. You know, you can't just expect them to drop everything and go to every meeting. So my opinion is Okay, put it on social media, go to the different things that are going on in the community, be accessible to them, do the magazine, do the social, all that kind of stuff. Everybody has got my personal cell phone number, I tell them to use it. I want to be as accessible as possible, I with this job comes a responsibility that I don't take lightly. And even if somebody's got to contact me with bad news, that's okay, that's fine. It's all in the delivery. You approached me with it. But I want to hear it. I want to hear good news too. But I want to be connected. I want people to feel that I'm accessible. And and I'm approachable because I am and I've spent a lifetime dealing with the public in the type of job that I do. This is not a stretch for me. If I don't know there's a problem. I don't know what to fix. So I want them to connect. So I appreciate you pointing that out. Because accessibility. I think for most of us when it comes to politicians, and I'm not a politician, trust me, I'm probably the least political person on the planet as far as I'm concerned. But there's this sense, especially at a national level that they're greater than thou. And that's just ridiculous.
Fuzz Martin 8:20
Agreed. So let's talk about some of the good things that are happening and Slinger just to put this out there. I know, again, going right back to what you were talking about finding multiple ways to tell people the good things that are going on. And these episodes where we talk about new developments, new businesses coming into town, those kinds of things are always very well received on the show, because people love to hear these things and hear them straight from a person who has the knowledge of what's going on. So I just grabbed a list that you had kind of provided some bullet points, and I've done some digging in. But I know that one of the first things you had spoken about in your most recent State of the village address was the parcel of land down on the corner of 41 and 60. So you can tell us what's kind of happening in that area right now.
Scott Stortz 9:07
It's about 130 acres, it's on the southwest corner of Highway 41 and Highway 60. We're currently referring referring to it as TID 8. "TID" is a tax increment district, I won't get into the weeds of what that means, because I know it's can be confusing. But half of that property is owned by the school district, which I think purchased it maybe 25-30 years ago with the intent that someday maybe a new school would be built there. And that did not happen. The other half of this land is owned by a private individual. And I know over the years, and then timing probably wasn't right. They really couldn't come to an agreement to sell the two parcels had to go together to have any kind of significant value to an to a developer. Even about six months before I took office. That was number one on my radars to figure that out. And I started to meet with developers six months before I was elected to see what the odds were and I was able to get things moving. We started with a developer and about I don't know six, eight months into it, we just realized that their vision wasn't the same as the villages. And we decided to pivot and move in another direction. We are now working with a group called three leaf development catalyst, headed by Matt Burrow, and we are coming up with the plan now that is going to be fantastic. Originally, there was going to be a large residential component that is off the map now, okay, it is going to be the business park that we always wanted. There'll be a strip of commercial along 60. Okay, and then everything south of that will be a business park. And that's really important to the long term economics of the village to have those types of businesses there. Residential is fine, but I don't really feel that residential should go into a TID we got plenty of farm fields in the future that could become a resident, you know, residential development, right. So that is what's happening right now there will probably be a small component of a 55 plus building because Slinger does have an aging population. And actually, statistically, in Washington County, percentage wise, we're one of the older communities in terms of of age. So we're really, really excited. And we're going to have final plans to present everybody probably in the next I'm hoping three to four weeks.Fuzz Martin:
Great. Excellent. And that, from what I read that could bring some significant financial benefits to Slinger as well, right?Scott Stortz:
Oh, absolutely. Right. Now, conservatively, we're looking at about $130 to $150 million worth of value, wow. So that to put this in perspective, the total value of the village is at about $875 million, this one development conservatively will come in at about 130 to 150, the developer tells me that he thinks it could get reached as high as 190 million. So when you look at the magnitude of this project, and what it's going to do to our tax base. The other beautiful thing about this is because the vast majority of it is going to be a business park, it does not have nearly the significant impact on our police and fire in DPW. And so all those other things that a residential development has, so we get the benefit of bringing in companies with good paying jobs, but also with an A level of value and increment that doesn't have as much of a drain on our services, including the school district. So it's really the best of all worlds for us.Fuzz Martin:
Right in that same area, you had announced that there's some updates coming to the off ramp like the DOT is going to be making some updates. How's that gonna affect flow traffic there?Unknown Speaker:
Yeah, with the announcement of this tid, we've really increased our discussions with the DOT about traffic concerns that are already there, let alone a project. And it's been on the radar, but now it's been expedited. So starting this coming next spring, not this spring, they're going to be redoing the off ramps if you're going southbound and 41 and getting off on 60. Anybody who's ever tried to do that at certain times a day and especially turn east to go to Jackson, good luck, they are going to completely remove that off ramp rebuild it. And there will be stoplights there now. Okay, so that'll be a huge safety thing. Then as you head east into Slinger, I mean Western to Slinger, you will be a grant. Once the development is going, there'll be another set of stoplights controlled for this new development. Okay, and then the next one is where the Kwik Trip is. And there'll be intersection improvements made there with turn lanes. So by the time this is all done, we're gonna have a stretch a road there that is going to be far safer than it's ever been with controlled lights, turn lanes and other things. So it's gonna be a little messy for a couple of years. But when it's done, it's going to make for a very well, I shouldn't, I don't know, however, it's a safe, but it's going to be a heck of a lot safer than it is now.Fuzz Martin:
Sure, sure. Definitely an improvement over where things are today. Absolutely. And as always, with these kind of road projects with the West Bend downtown area has the Main Street improvement projects going on, starting here real soon. And that's going to be a mess for a little bit. But that little bit of time that it's a mess is going to improve things so much for people that I assume this will be the same way with with that area.Scott Stortz:
You know, it's interesting, our location is a blessing and a curse Slinger sits on Interstate 41 It's not highway 41 It's interstate 41. Then we have highway 60, highway 175 and 167 or 164. So we've got these major roadways that intersect through our village. Most of these are either county or state roads. So you know people will come to us all the time we're going to do this when you it's not up to us, right we have to work with the DOT or the county or whatever. And so it's a process one thing that I've learned about government it moves like molasses in February it does not go fast. So it's the squeaky wheel gets the grease and we are constantly showing them statistics and so we are finally at the point now where the DOT is really taking an active measurable look at our especially our stretch of one or highway 60-41 to 175Fuzz Martin:
So just down a scooch from there we have at the corner 175 and 60 There's a new business coming to town at that corner, right? Yeah,Scott Stortz:
That corner which is the south east corner of 175 and 60 A lot of people into I will refer to that corner as the Walgreens corner because Walgreens originally purchased that I think was about 15 years ago, didn't do anything with it. It's been for sale for quite a while. It has now been purchased by an individual who came to us this past fall and did receive permission or you know, through a conditional use permit through the planning commission to do a Scooters Coffee Shop and this is not a drive thru. This will be an actual coffee shop. Okay, obviously we'll have a drive thru but we'll also have interior seating and proposed carwash. Okay, so the hiccup right now, of course, because it's on highway 61/75 is some DOT issues. Oh, sure. Through our conversations with the DOT, they want differences done with the entrances and exits to this because of the traffic. Well, to complicate things a little bit further, the Kettle Moraine bowling alley in Slinger just closed, okay, purchased by a gentleman, and he wants to redevelop that site. That's going to cause more traffic concerns. Sure. So right now we are working through a process because the safety issues that are going to occur, they're on the north side of that lane. 60 is a road called Lou's way, the DOT wants the entrance to the development to be in line. Okay. Beyond that, we feel as village officials with the traffic count, there's a strip mall there, there's going to be these two new developments, that it's a huge safety issue. So we are actively working right now to obtain a strip of land between these two parcels to create an actual roadway a continuation of Lou's way to help with all of this development. We're trying to get ahead of it. Unfortunately, we're having some pushback from two of the existing property owners. Sure. So now this is going to end up in the in the courts hands.Fuzz Martin:
Okay. Well, I hope that all works out. Yeah, I do too. And one thing that's very familiar to me being in the village of Kewaskum, is the need for a police village hall and library. Can you tell us the current status of your existing village operationsScott Stortz:
Quite a few years ago, there were some facility studies done about our DPW, our village hall our library needs and our PD needs and report was done. And at that time, the village board decided I wasn't a part of this decision that they were just going to address the DPW needs at that point. And they shoe fitted the DPW on our existing campus with the knowledge and understanding that that's it, there's no more room we're done. Unfortunately, by the time that DPW building was built, it was full. Well, the police department is also an issue. And again, it's not so much fighting crime from village residence, it's all the drive through crime that we deal with based on our location. So our police department was originally not designed by a firm that specializes in public safety buildings, that's strike one, Strike Two, it was only designed with about a maybe a 20 year use, which I disagree with, but they should have long term. Well, through this latest facility study, it was determined that out of moving all of these pieces on the board, the best thing to do would be to move the PD build a new PD, then take our current building, which houses our current PD and village hall, move the library into their remodeling eventually, and then move the village offices into the old library. We're going that route for two reasons. One, because building a PD is so specialized to remodel a current building to make it so specialized would be as much as building a new one, right. The other problem is then we would be forced to spend 15 plus million dollars first on a library and Village Hall, which is not our immediate need. So we made a decision that we're going to do this, we're going to do the PD, get that all done, and then work on a plan to remodel the other two pieces. So we did contract with the firm. They are in the process of working on architectural renderings, we will be hiring a construction manager to represent the village and then we will be taking it out for bid and then it will come back to the full board to start looking at it as Okay, now are we ready to do this? I believe we are we have worked very closely with elders and Associates. They have 1,000 times showed us in 1,000 different ways that we can financially do this. So my hope is by fall of this year, we will have definitive plans, a site and we will be able to break ground in spring of next year.Fuzz Martin:
Speaking of making things happen. There are some new developments that are our new businesses that are coming to Slinger in 2023. Can you talk about some of those that are coming to town and where they're going to beScott Stortz:
A lot of exciting things in our quote unquote, downtown area, which is not a traditional downtown like you see in West Bend or even Kewaskum or Cedarburg, but we've got a 50 Day Brewery coming in. They purchased an old church and they're going to start a project with the interior remodeling. And so they're a brewery, they're going to brew on site. That's very exciting. They're hoping that maybe by this coming fall, they'll be open for business. Right down the road. From there we've got the distillery that will be opening here shortly. They're in the process of distilling. So that's kind of cool and And to make it a full Trifecta because we went from beer to distillery to winery, Aspen Sky is going to be opening in the next month and Aspen Skies and Event Center. If anybody's familiar with Slinger we're uptown is just south of Uptown. They are building a beautiful facility for hosting weddings and whatnot. Plus, they will have a they're gonna be making their own wines. They're blending wines and then having like a little wine tasting area in there too. So that's really exciting. Those are three major businesses that are going to be opening this year in town.Fuzz Martin:
Scott, this is a ton of great stuff. I appreciate it. I welcome you back to the show. And we will talk again alright,Scott Stortz:
I appreciate this opportunity. Fuzz. You are definitely a treasure in this community. I love what you do and your promotion of this community. And I'd love an opportunity to come back in the future.Fuzz Martin:
Thanks for the kind words thank you again to Slinger's Village President Scott Stortz for joining me on today's episode of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz there are a ton of great things happening in Slinger and it is great to see or hear I guess, since you're listening, if you know of some great things happening in your community that you think I should discuss on this show. Send me a message. Don't be bashful, go to fifteenwithfuzz.com or you can email me email@example.com that is fifteen spelled out with fuzz @ gmail.com You episodes of the show drop on Tuesdays. Thank you so much for listening and I will talk to you next week right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.