November 12, 2015 by Laura Bacon
The Audubon City Council approved the voluntary annexation of a piece of property at 2017 Highway 71 - owned by Lawrence Handlos, and the location of a planned full-service truck stop.
In September, John Anderson, one of the managers of the truck stop, told the council that a full-service truck stop, including gas and diesel services, a convenience store with fast food, a 24/7 cafe, 30-room hotel and truck wash was planned for the site, and asked the council to annex the property to allow city services - water and sewer - to be provided.
"Our goal," he said, "would be to provide competitive fuel prices against major city markets in the region and serving quality food and services on a 24/7 basis."
A public hearing on the annexation was held, with members of the public asking about things like what the cost would be to provide those services, whether the city's water system could handle the needs of the truck stop, how many jobs would be provided, what pay rates might be, and more.
While the Audubon Public Works Director, Tyler Thygesen, was unable to attend the meeting for the public hearing, he was present at a special work session held so that city council members could continue discussion on the issue, and get more information on the cost of providing the city services truck stop officials had wanted.
According to an estimate by JEO Consulting, extending water and sewer services to the property could cost as much as $500,000 to $600,000, but during the work session, officials found a more direct route for extending the services, which could result in a lower cost.
No decisions on how the work will be financed have been made.
The truck stop is expected to employ about 76 people, with an average salary of $13.05 per hour, officials with the truck stop have said, and their rough estimate of cost of completion - just for the convenience store and restaurant would come to $4.2 million - with a total improvement estimate of $7.961 million for the project.
The council voted unanimously to accept the voluntary annexation of the property.
Courtesy of Laura Bacon, Audubon County Advocate Journal, 11/13/15.