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Crossing Meadows project previewed

A preview of the new Crossing Meadows development on the village's northwest side was presented to Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce members Thursday.

Developer Paul Gerrard said this is the Gerrard Corporation's second local development; the other is Highpoint Apartments, west of Ellsworth Middle School.

"Without this partnership (with the village board), it never would have happened," Gerrard said.

Crossing Meadows is actually five projects in one development, he said. The developers had an idea and a vision for a larger project than they've done in a community of Ellsworth's size in the past, but it wasn't possible without significant financial support. Approximately two years ago, plans began to progress.

The La Crosse-based corporation bought land on the northwest corner of Hwy. 65 (Maple Street) and Crosstown Road from the Leonard family, then sold off a piece to the village for a business park, he said. They saw a need for commercial property, he added.

"In the next 60-90 days, expect a major announcement," he said about a commercial prospect for the site, which he hinted is something the community lacks and will like.

He also mentioned another sale for a commercial lot behind that prospect's parcel, an acre that's been bought by local businessman Lonnie Feuerhelm.

Meantime, the developers are providing more senior housing for the community, Gerrard said. Four-plexes at their new development will feature one- and two-bedroom units. Because they're situated in a rural setting, they'll offer plenty of green area. He noted the units are all handicapped-accessible and the furniture's already arrived for the complex's community center, but it awaits decorative final touches.

Around $4 million is being spent on construction in the project's first phase, he said. After gaining local feedback, the developers decided to install a baseball park on-site, plus a tot lot and parking lot for 20 vehicles.

Additionally, townhouse availability is in the works, involving four units all on one level with amenities, to be sold, the developer said. He encouraged interested individuals to act soon, while there's still time to choose on interior design aspects.

"I consider these a step-down home for people living in larger houses in town," he said, referring to those with a desire to move into a less-maintenance arrangement.

The townhouses have one- or two-bedroom floor plans and are high-end structures, he said. There won't be any association fees. Comparable homes are being built by the corporation as nearby as Menomonie, where an open house is planned for this Sunday.

A future phase of the Ellsworth project calls for single-family and twin homes, he said. Their lots will be "generous," one-and-a-third times larger than similar ones he's seen in town. Many are on cul-de-sacs.

Gerrard said the corporation has lined up local and area subcontractors for Crossing Meadows. Plummer Concrete of Ellsworth has done all the concrete work and Pierce-Pepin Cooperative Services, based here, has arranged the in-floor radiant heat. Other subcontractors are from nearby Durand and Menomonie.

An open house for a local four-unit rental for seniors is scheduled for Sunday, April 15.

In other chamber business:

--President Raynee Farrell reported on the success of the recent Spring Fling Business Expo. There were 40 businesses and over 60 attendees, Farrell said, anticipating the event will return next year. A later start time and perhaps a second yearly expo in the fall are being considered.

--Four candidates are participating in the upcoming Miss Ellsworth pageant, the president said. Tickets for the first Ellsworth Rod and Gun Club chicken dinner of the season are now on sale, with $2 of each ticket sold going toward the pageant program. The candidates are also selling buttons, which will entitle holders to be entered in a drawing.

--Plans for the sixth annual Cheese Curd Festival are underway, arranging for craft market and business vendors. Chamber Coordinator Kim Johnson said help is needed to grow the festival parade.

--New content for the chamber website is nearly ready, Milt Helmer of the website committee said. Hopes are to have it online by early next month.

--The 21st annual Business and Professional Women's Colloquium was announced for Wednesday, April 25, at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing.

--April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Farrell said county organizers of a "Keeping Kids Safe" promotion are seeking window space in local businesses for related displays.

--Sandwich board signs on sidewalks were discussed. Police Chief Greg Place shared information last week showing village ordinance addresses vision triangles at local intersections, which must be free of all obstructions. The ordinance states no sign shall be placed so it interferes with the visibility or effectiveness of any official traffic sign or signal, or with driver vision at any access point or intersection. It prohibits the obstruction of any alley, sidewalk or public grounds or land dedicated to public use. It also prohibits all trees, hedges, billboards or other obstructions preventing drivers on public streets, alleys or highways from obtaining a clear view of traffic when approaching an intersection or pedestrian crosswalk. For clarification or more information, the public can call the village hall at 715-273-4742 before putting up signs, planting or landscaping.