Exhibition Center Cost to Appleton Taxpayers (Part 1) / by Tom Roessler

Appleton taxpayers were told that no taxpayer dollars would be used for the “construction” of the exhibition center.  However, Appleton taxpayers paid a significant amount toward the project. The following five articles will summarize those expenditures. 

Initial Cost:  Appleton paid $3.8 million toward the initial cost of the Exhibition Center which included $2.0 million for the land purchase, more than twice the assessed value, and $1.8 million for infrastructure.  Read on to learn more…

In September of 2014 Mayor Hanna said the city's net cost of the exhibition center would be "a little over $2 million" because the $1.8 million infrastructure work was needed independent of the exhibition center (9/28/14 APC).  The purchase of the exhibition center land from the county came to $2.0 million. In March of 2015 the common council approved the purchase of the land.  Several council members were troubled by the $2 million price tag, which is more than double the assessed value but equal to what Outagamie County invested in the property. The council defeated an amendment offered by Croatt on Wednesday to lower the city offer to $900,000 (APC 3-4-15)

According to a December 14, 2014 APC article the infrastructure improvements included the following:

$290,550 – Water main replacement

$22,150 – Sanitary sewers

$60,000 – Storm sewers

$657,542 – Street reconstruction

$22,737 – Land purchase (Lot #9)

$60,000 – Site Plan

$368,000 – Pedestrian bridge over Lawrence

$130,000 – Onsite storm water management

$167,000 – Power Poles

$1,777,979 - Total

Even the mayor would have to concede that the bridge over Lawrence street and the purchase of lot #9 would not be necessary if the Exhibition Center wasn’t built.  The cost of these two items totals $390,737.