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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Economic and Land Use Impacts Study of State Trunk Highway 29: Phase I Chippewa Falls to Abbotsford, Wisconsin

Colby (profile as of mid 2002)

Clark & Marathon Counties

Population: 1,616

Highway 29 expansion completed: September 1999

Located on the south side of the new Abbotsford bypass, the City of Colby is known for the development of Colby Cheese. Local organizations annually sponsor a Dairy Breakfast and Colby Cheese Days.

Community Perception of the Highway Improvement

There were not as many issues or concerns regarding the highway expansion in Colby in comparison to the nearby community of Abbotsford. The public has expressed concerns about the additional cost to the community for installing sewer and water on newly annexed land near the bypass.

Current Development

In anticipation of the highway bypass, the City annexed the majority of the land located north of Marshfield Clinic for future development.

As a direct result of the construction of the bypass, a Shell station and a Hardee's restaurant located near the bypass. No industrial development has occurred near the bypass since the City's priority is to fill the remaining lots in its existing industrial park. The industrial park already has infrastructure in place including sewer, water, and curb and gutter.

According to local officials, in the past three to four years there has been rapid growth in single-family housing. This rapid growth occurred in response to the housing demand of commuters working in nearby regional trade centers, primarily in Marshfield. With the completion of the Highway 29 expansion, more commuters traveling east, towards Wausau also contributed to increased demand for housing. The new 65 mph speed limit on Highway 29 is helping to facilitate housing growth in Colby.

The following map illustrates the various types of businesses located in Colby.

Figure 9 City of Colby Businesses

Figure 9. Map of Colby illustrating the location of establishments by business type in relation to state highways and county streets. Most business are located near or along Highway 13, which serves as the city's main street. (2002)

Proposed Development

Photo of the exterior of a log home used for almost a century before being moved to the Rural Arts Museum in Colby. (2002) ]

The Rural Arts Museum in Colby is a local attraction. The Log Home was used for almost a century before it was moved to the museum. (2002 photo)

Colby is building a new frontage road east of Highway 13, which runs north and south through the city. The frontage road will run parallel to Highway 13, improving access to existing and future businesses near the bypass and Highway 29.

The following map illustrates planned land use in Colby.

Figure 10 City of Colby Planned Land Use

Figure 10. Map of Colby illustrating planned land use in relation to state highways and county streets. The map distinguishes between commercial and residential use. Some development is planned near Highway 29 interchange (2002)

Economic Impact of the Highway Improvement

The highway improvement has sparked interest in development on Colby's newly annexed land, located directly off the bypass. Developers' most recent interest in Colby was in building the new Shell station and the possibility of locating a restaurant near the bypass.

More traffic is being generated through the city as more vehicles are using this route to access the four-lane highway. The City views this positively for its businesses. According to local officials, the highway expansion has not had any negative economic impacts on the community.

Property Values

Property along the highway corridor, particularly along Abbotsford's Highway 29 bypass, has increased in value.

Photo of the Shell gas station located near the Abbotsford bypass and Highway 29. (2002)]

The Shell Station has very good access to Highway 29 from the Abbotsford bypass. (2002)

In the very early stages of the construction of Abbotsford's bypass, a new bank purchased approximately 2 acres of land near the interchange for approximately $300,000. Around 1998 or 1999 there was a boom of commercial interest near the interchange on the Marathon County side of Highway 13. Approximately 4 acres were purchased for $700,000, for a Shell gas station near the interchange.

Another property along the Highway 29/13 interchange, directly along the bypass, is currently for sale. The current asking price is between $300,000 and $350,000. Culvers Frozen Custard was one of the parties interested in the property, but a deal did not materialize. This property (a little over 4 acres) was previously farmland with a value of $350 per acre.

The land on the west side of Highway 13 is part of the township of Colby. The area is mostly wooded. At this time, there is no development on the property and very little discussion about a buyer for the land.

In 2002, housing in the City of Colby was valued at approximately $100,000 for a new 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home on an approximately 100' by 150' lot.

Updated: 5/7/2012
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