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Kiel eyes more economic growth, but must wait for some development

Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 18, 2024

KIEL (NBC 26) — Kiel officials say the city is growing. But, for now, they won't be able to fully utilize a newly expanded sewer system while waiting to access more developmental space.

  • Despite a large water treatment expansion, Kiel has run out of certain tax incentive space to grow.
  • The tax districts use future property tax to cover costs of public improvements and development incentives.
  • City Administrator Casey Witterholt says they knew they'd run out of space in the short-term

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

A few weeks ago, I reported about Kiel’s new potential to grow through a massive waste water plant expansion. Now, I’m returning to Kiel where at least some growth will have to wait.

It's a problem of space, though the city says they knew this was coming.

"While we're out of it now, that is on purpose,” said City Administrator Casey Witterholt. “We wanted to grow and provide services to our citizens."

She is talking about special tax districts, TID for short, used to spur development.

"It really helps us find a way to grow,” said Witterholt.

The districts use future property tax to cover the cost of public improvements and development incentives. But the city can't establish new ones until they've finished financing the current ones, in around 2030.

"We will actually have to find the land, find the physical space to do it, but we will have the financial means at that point,” Witterholt said.

While the city figures out the means to grow, local business owner, Heather Diamond, says she's already seeing growth.

"It's amazing how people come in and they're like, 'We're from Manitowoc. We're from Sheboygan’,” Diamond said. “That is great that Kiel is drawing people to come here."

Diamond says she trusts the city and when the chance comes, she hopes they'll take advantage of the wastewater facility's new capacity for more waterlines to businesses and homes.

"To grow I think we could bring in new things, different businesses,” Diamond said. “The more the merrier."

Now before new space is ready by around 2030, Witterholt says other projects will be taking place they'll just be a little harder to finance.