State considers selling Waukesha County corrections facility

CREATED Jul 2, 2014

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WALES - The grass is cut.  The US and Wisconsin flags are flying.  The gatehouse is almost brand new.

It is called Ethan Allen School, but it looks more like a prison.  The shuttered boys corrections facility sits ominous and empty in the Town of Delafield.  The grounds are among several state properties that could be sold or leased.
 
George Neitzel has lived nearby for three decades.
 
"I don't want it to sit vacant," Neitzel told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.
 
The state consolidated juvenile operations a few years ago.  Teenage inmates were moved elsewhere and employees had to find other work. 
 
In a letter to the State Building Commission, the Wisconsin Department of Administration listed properties that could be put on the market:
- Underutilized acreage at the Hill Farms State Transportation Building, Madison
- T-Hangar at Dane County Regional Airport, Madison
- Telecommunications towers and related infrastructure, various locations statewide
- Northern Wisconsin Center, Chippewa Falls
- Underutilized acreage at the Southern Wisconsin Center, Union Grove
- Ethan Allen School, Wales
- Badger Road State Office Building, Madison
- Knapp House, Madison
- Wiscraft Workshop & Administration Buildings, Milwaukee
 
"It is important to note that inclusion on this list does not mean an asset will be sold or leased," Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch wrote in the letter.  "In fact, no decisions have been made in this regard."
 
The possibility of selling the properties is drawing criticism from Democrats.
 
“Wisconsin really is up for sale, and it probably won’t even be to the highest bidder, although we’ll never know since Scott Walker’s cronies are making the deals,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in an e-mailed news release. “Everything about this ill-conceived plan to sell off state assets suggests a typical Walker pay-to-play scheme and not a real attempt to counter Scott Walker’s fiscal mismanagement that has pushed Wisconsin’s debt level to an all-time high.”
 
The state hired consultants to determine market value.