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Armstrong Street residents not pleased with redevelopment plans

Local News

NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV)-David versus Goliath. 

That’s how one resident describes a disagreement that is happening in a neighborhood in the town of Neenah. 

The city of Neenah bought a piece of land to connect a subdivision with Breezewood Lane via Armstrong Street. They also annexed Armstrong Street from the town of Neenah in August. There are only a few houses on Armstrong Street, but the residents who live there say they aren’t happy with the city’s plan.

“It’s on a gravel dead-end road and has a very rural feel and is very quiet and that’s why we (her family) bought it and wanted to keep it,” says Sara Kosmicki.

The city of Neenah says it’s important to make sure residents have easy access to thoroughfares and that the new connections will make it easier for police, fire, and EMS to move around this area as well.

Armstrong Street is a private road and the residents who live there maintain it themselves right now. It’s also a public right of way though, which is why the annexation was possible. The town of Neenah and the city of Neenah needed to amend an existing border agreement between the two municipalities to clear way for the annexation to take place.

The city of Neenah only annexed about half of Armstrong Street, only the portion they needed to connect the plat they bought to Breezewood Lane. The south portion of Armstrong Street still belongs to the town of Neenah.

In the amended boundary agreement, the town of Neenah agreed to stay neutral and not challenge the city’s ability to annex the area in exchange for the city promising to hold the town harmless if there is a lawsuit.

“It’s never the intention of the city to purposely upset residents, but they have to consider what is best for the city of Neenah and all 29,000 residents who live there,” says Neenah city Attorney Adam Westbrook.

The city says they hope to finish up development on the lot and the street by the end of fall. The city will bring the road up to city standards and it will then become a public road.

There are provisions in the rules for lots in this part of town that they can only be used for residential purposes. Westbrook and the city say that turning the lot into a street is absolutely a residential purpose. Others disagree with this assessment.

“When we’ve consulted people on that most people have said that that is a terrible argument, a road doesn’t constitute a residential purpose,” says Kosmicki.

Residents who live on Armstrong Street say they have fought against this project since 2015.

Local Five News reached out to the town of Neenah for this story and an official there told us they didn’t want to comment.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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