After more than 15 years, City Hall received the phone call Winnebago city leaders have been waiting for.
About a month ago, a J-M Eagle representative unexpectedly contacted Jennifer Howard, the city’s economic development specialist.
“They said they would maybe be interested in selling the property, which is more than they have ever said before,” says City Administrator Judi Hynes.
J-M Eagle closed its production facility located within city limits along Highway 169 in 2007 and at the time was among the city’s largest employers.
Mayor Scott Robertson says he remembers when the plastic pipe maker operated three shifts.
“We need to get someone in there, to fill that void,” he says. “It’s going to take a lot of work to get those buildings back in shape.”
Hynes says she expects that the company will be selling the property privately and that city will not be involved.
While the vacant site has been a topic of discussion at many Economic Development Authority (EDA) meetings, J-M Eagle hasn’t totally abandoned it.
The company has someone who maintains upkeep of the property and the annual property taxes are current.
In 2021, J-M paid $22,988 on seven parcels of land that total nearly 35 acres. The company last year paid $25,900 and is expected to pay $24,854 for 2023.