My Annual Prognostication
Posted: January 17, 2014
This is the time of year when I publish my annual prognostication editorial. I look at what has happened throughout the Chippewa Valley over the past year and guess what may happen in the year ahead.
Last year, I called it right when I predicted that a grocery store would locate in the River Prairie development in Altoona. (I didn't know, however, that Woodman's would be the suitor and acquire the entire southwest quadrant parcel). This year, I can safely predict that at least one hotel operator will step forward and announce plans for the northeast quadrant in River Prairie. Unfortunately, most prospective motel projects are on hold while market studies are being conducted to see what impact the new Holiday Inn South and new Hampton Inn in the Village of Lake Hallie will have on the industry.
I can also bet that the region will see more growth in the development of the gas/convenience store business. Mega Holiday is likely to increase its presence in the coming months through acquisition and Kwik Trip already has plans for new stores in River Prairie and along Black Avenue at the North Crossing interchange with the Highway 53 Freeway. In addition, Kwik Trip should be able to work out the details so it can finally construct its proposed store at the corner of Brian Street and Mall Drive, along Highway 93, in the Town of Washington.
This will be the year that a roundabout gets underway in the Village of Lake Hallie along Commercial Boulevard. With the upcoming construction of the Hampton Inn and the escalated traffic near the Wal-Mart and existing Kwik Trip, property owners in the Village have known for some time that a roundabout would be necessary. Now the traveling public will have one more roundabout to encounter in their daily commute.
In Chippewa County, I expect to see more activity in the rail industry. Increased demand for frac sand mining will spur improvements in rail infrastructure. Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Charlie Walker also said he believes sand frac mining will increase due to the increased demand for natural gas after a cold winter.
Dunn County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Eric Turner said he is also optimistic about 2014. He told me that there are a number of prospective projects that could occur along the Interstate 94 corridor.
If 2013 was a good indicator of what is to come in the next year, then I think things will only continue to get better in the Chippewa Valley in 2014.