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Three Lakes to spend $10,000 on study for potential hotel developmentSubmitted: 01/06/2020
Maya Reese
Maya Reese
Reporter
mreese@wjfw.com

Three Lakes to spend $10,000 on study for potential hotel development
THREE LAKES - Americans spend nearly $162 billion per year on temporary stays at hotels and motels. Community members of Three Lakes hope a small chunk of that number can go towards boosting their economy.

The Three Lakes town board has approved funding for a hotel feasibility study, costing up to $10,000. It's part of a collaborative effort to improve tourism housing options and bring back the business they lost when the town's last hotel caught fire.

All that remains of the March 2019 fire is the Oneida Village Inn sign. It's a burning reminder of the lost hotel. Three Lakes Town Chair Jeff says the hotel brought a lot of business to the Northwoods.

"They would come here and snowmobile, stay for hockey tournaments, stay in the summer time, and things like that," said Bruss. "We lost the ability to have whatever that was 40 plus or minus rooms that were full on busy weekends."

Bruss says the study will help find out if it makes sense for Three Lakes to develop another hotel.

"The last thing we want to do is build a great big new hotel in town and then have somebody say it doesn't work and then there's an empty hotel and nobody wants to run it and it has really no value," said Bruss.

Bruss is not alone. Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, a hotel chain, Oneida Village Inn, and prospective investors requested this study to hopefully prove the potential money-making aspects. Three Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Collete Sorgel says she believes adding a hotel to their community would do nothing but help their economy.

"Having the hotel gone has really hit our tax base in a lot of ways. We don't have the tax income coming in from the building," said Sorgel. "We don't have water and the taxes from that. Plus, we don't have the visitors."

At a recent town board meeting, a few people disagreed with the study due to it using the town's funds for a private sector. Regardless, the Three Lakes town board voted 4-1 in favor of financing the study.

"Most of the people I've talked to who have heard about the study are excited that we're actually taking a positive step forward to take a look at what can happening three lakes and what we can do to make sure we have viable store fronts and hotels," said Sorgel.

If the study comes back with glowing recommendations, the parties involved hope it will go on the same lot where Oneida Village Inn once was. They would like for future developments to take place within the next two to three years.

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