HUDSON, Wis. - A major redevelopment could be coming to a corner of Hudson, possibly bringing hundreds of jobs and a baseball complex.
On a stretch of Carmichael Road in Hudson has sat 130 acres of unused land, formerly run as a dog racing track. It's a piece of land that has a divisive and turbulent history.
St. Croix Meadows, more commonly known as the "Hudson dog track," opened in 1991 and was a place where people bet on greyhound dog races. The facility was one of several that opened in the State of Wisconsin around that time, but it gained controversy over gambling and the treatment of dogs.
Within a few years, St. Croix Meadows was losing money and the owner tried to turn it into a casino, after saying the business couldn't make it on its own with only dog races. The casino deal was denied by the State and in 2001, the track was closed.
Fifteen years later, the land still sits empty with overgrown trees and a few boarded windows. It has become a lure for trespassers. The family that owns the land is asking $7.9 million for it.
Brian Zeller, of Greystone Commercial, said the original owner has since passed and the family heirs "just want to sell the property and move on."
Hudson Mayor Rich O'Connor was elected to his position this year and said redeveloping the land has been his top priority.
"Generally when it comes up people usually say it's an eyesore, we need to do something with this," said O'Connor.
This week, KF Investments, of Woodbury, presented a proposal to the Hudson Common Council to transform the land.
The proposal includes a corporate headquarters, which could bring in between 500-1,000 jobs, condos, homes, and potential convention center space. There are also plans to bring in a Northwoods League baseball stadium for a new team. O'Connor could not give details on which corporation is involved with the proposal, only that as a whole, it employs 50,000-100,000 people.
"I'm expecting people are going to be very happy about this and I don't think we're going to run into the difficulties that we've had with some of the other proposals," said O'Connor.
A few years ago, there was a proposed high school to be built on the land, but O'Connor said the city decided against it, wanting to keep the land on the city's tax base.
Klint Klaas, of KF Investments, said he is going through the pre-approval process with the city. His goal is to get the project approved in a few months and begin construction in June.
'We're adding something to Hudson that I think has been needed for a long time," said Klaas.
The Hudson Common Council has final say on the project, but O'Connor doesn't expect any major setbacks. He does know there may be concern about traffic around the land, specifically Carmichael Road, but said the city is working on options.