Oshkosh pledges to move trucks off the riverfront

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Overlooked amid the unveiling of the design for a new Oshkosh Corp. headquarters Monday night was another announcement that will have an even more immediate impact on the city and its appearance.

By St. Patrick’s Day, the 500 or so military vehicles that the company has been storing downtown on the banks of the Fox River will be relocated to the town of Nekimi, said Oshkosh CEO Wilson Jones.

“By March 17, we will be off the Jeld-Wen site,” he said.

“I think it’s time,” said Mayor Steve Cummings. “We’ve had a lot of complaints. It’s not very attractive.”

Cummings said the company has been sensitive to the city’s concern about the parked trucks. “They just had to find a township willing to take them.”

Going forward Oshkosh will store vehicles at a facility it has been preparing near the intersection of County Highway N and Old Knapp Road. The Town of Nekimi initially rejected  the request to use the site.

The new storage lot is shielded by a 12-foot earthen berm and protected by a 6-foot security fence. According to testimony to the Winnebago Planning and Zoning Committee, “a maximum of 2,400 trucks would be stored on the site, with approximately 100 trucks being moved per day, if the lot is full.”

Cummings said he has not heard of any plans by the owners of the old Jeld-Wen property to move forward with the ambitious mixed-use project they proposed for the site.

In addition to the trucks, the city is concerned about a large pile of gravel and other appearance issues. “They’ve been dumping dirt, and they’ve been sent notice” to stop, Cummings said.

Neither Grant Schwab nor Nicholas Lang, principals in the development company, responded to a request for comment.

Their firm, known as Morgan Crossing LLC, proposed in 2016 to build 400 apartment units, a grocery store and additional commercial space on 23 acres of land straddling Oregon Street along the Fox River.

But the project, valued at $55 million, has been stalled for a variety of reasons, including uncertainty about what would be done with the Oregon Street bridge. The span is now expected to stay in place for another six years.

Since last fall the property has been listed for sale on the LoopNet commercial real estate site with an asking price of $3 million.  

Photo by Miles Maguire.

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Miles Maguire

Miles Maguire is the author of Advanced Reporting: Essential Skills for 21st Century Journalism. He was the founding editor of the Oshkosh Community News Network, a nonprofit online news organization whose work was cited as a notable innovation in journalism in the 2005 Knight-Batten Awards. Send questions, comments and suggestions to miles.maguire@yahoo.com.

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