At this abandoned, blighted factory—consisting of 187,227 square feet in 21 different structures on 13.5 acres in the three separate parcels—a tour some time ago by a Wisconsin state legislator produced a brutally honest but necessary wake up call.
The state official had toured the former canning facility a few years ago and remarked that it reminded him “of Europe.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t a compliment: The lawmaker wasn’t comparing what he saw in downtown Waunakee with the Champs Elysees in Paris or Hyde Park in London. Rather he was equating the decaying remains of the former Stokely USA vegetable canning plant with bombed out Bosnia after the Yugoslav civil war. “He’s right; it did look like a war zone,” Village Administrator Kim Wilde said while sitting in a conference room inside Waunakee’s gleaming new Village Center on the former canning plant site.
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