by Charles Collier, The Denmark News
MARIBEL — An incoming business is set to call Maribel its home, and its arrival was treated to a much different reception than some of the site’s previous suitors.
Not a high-hoping restaurant; not a food waste digester; not an adult bookstore. After years of vacancy, marked by gradually eroding pavement and abandoned efforts to repair it, the former Cedar Ridge restaurant on CTH 147 in Maribel is now under the ownership of X-Treme Trucking.
A special meeting of the Village Board last Thursday approved a conditional-use permit for the company to relocate its office headquarters, consisting of about 20 employees, a proprietary repair shop and spaces for 30 of the company’s 75-truck fleet.
The other 45 trucks will continue to operate from the company’s New Holstein location.
X-Treme’s founder and owner Travis Nelson said the company will be buying its fuel from Maribel Grain, whose expanded fuel station under construction is directly across the street. The company ships largescale freight around the country and Nelson said the strengthening economy has helped continued expansion, shown by a 2015 purchase of Zernicke Trucking, Inc. as well as last year’s acquisition of Heim Trucking Co.
Nelson closed on the purchase mid-day on Friday, but there are still some details which remain to be ironed out before bringing the new trucking hub into operation by its early July target date, fiber optic cables chief among them.
When formatting plans for the new location, Nelson discovered that a coaxial connection extends to the building but that the faster, more reliable fiber optics did not. Internet provider Spectrum said installing the cables there near the I-43 corridor would cost about $20,000.
“I need fiber optic. I’ve tried to go without it before, and it just doesn’t work,” Nelson said. “There’s trucks all over the country, and if we don’t have Internet for even a few hours, it just stops everything.”
Village government has until September to finalize the specifications of its tax-increment-financing district and Nelson proposed that installation costs be included within it, relieving X-Treme of the upfront investment.
Other businesses would also gain access to the improved Internet connection, provided they choose to pay for service, and X-Treme is estimated to contribute about $120,000 to Maribel’s tax roll once TIF exemptions are taken out of effect.
Brian Rabas, general manager of Maribel Grain and the TIF’s guarantor, said installation could be categorized as an infrastructure improvement and be eligible for municipal investment. Fiber optics would allow the upcoming Burger King franchise and the expanded fuel station to use more efficient payment processing options as well, Rabas said.
Board member Kevin Habeck said it was a feasible plan but that dialog with Spectrum would need to be opened and more details known before the additional expenses would be considered.