My Northern Wisconsin

Covering Ashland, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Vilas Counties


Image captured from a 3-second video of people waving and making a "woo" sound on the count of three, provided by Lyn Ludwig, Price County United Limited

Residents have asked My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin many questions about Price County United Limited's plans for Phillips if the approximately $20 million in grants is awarded later this month.  Some questions include who is on the board, which of the other five properties the grant will cover, if there are plans for the Fred Mueller Ford building to be demolished and the property be used for migrant housing, what happens to the Lionite building and Phillips if the grants are not received, and more.  We spoke with two members of the three-person board of directors.

Lynda (Lyn) Ludwig is the president of the board.  On the Price County United Limited (PCUL) website, she lists  her experience in the family business, as she is the daughter of Carl Marschke, who founded Marquip.  She states she has been a veterinarian for 24 years.

Blake Pluemer is the vice president of PCUL.  He works at BW Papersystems.  His listed experiences include 38 years in the packaging industry, field service engineer, vice president of sales, and vice president of operations at a manufacturing company.

Cheryl Moore is the secretary / treasurer for Price County United Limited.  She is listed as having 35 years in accounting and public finance having been an accounts payable supervisor for 30 years.  She is the current Village of Catawba president, a title she has held for over 20 years.

The website states, "We have joined together to shepherd Price County United Limited in our mission to support community & economic development through community engagement and our activities include but are not limited to the preservation of our historic culture and buildings, supporting public recreation trails, remediation of brownfield sites, and all aspects of work to combat community deterioration."

On April 26, 2024, we reached out to Price County United Limited with some questions.  Lyn Ludwig, president of PCUL, replied, "Thank you for your interest in the PCUL developments and for your follow-up questions.  Is this for a newspaper or online story??  We are doing another community engagement 5/1/24 that answers those questions.  Check out our website.  Thanks for seeking accurate reporting."

My Price County replied to Lyn but did not receive the answers to our questions after our reply, so we reached out to Blake Pluemer, vice president of Price County United Limited, on May 9, 2024.  He replied that Lyn Ludwig would get us the answers by our deadline.

Our questions, a number of which were submitted to us by community members, included:

1.  What are the five other properties that the grant will cover?  What is being proposed for those properties?  Does PCUL already own the properties, or are those properties in negotiations?

2.  Do you know if PCUL has secured the grants?  If not, when will PCUL know the grants have been secured?

3.  When will changes start taking place if PCUL receives the grants?

4.  What happens to Lionite and the plan for Phillips if PCUL doesn't receive the grants?

5.  Is the Fred Mueller Ford building going to be torn down and the property used for migrant housing?

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Lyn replied on May 13, 2024.  In answer to Question 2, she let us know that PCUL has not secured the grants yet but will know in the next couple weeks.  She stated, "We are actively pursuing grants to support our mission.  We are partnering with the City of Phillips to pursue grants for our "complete street" model and the EPA Community Change Grant.  We have applied but are awaiting announcement of our EPA Clean Up Grant for the local mill.  PCUL is the applicant.  We are anticipating hearing from EPA the next couple weeks to know if we have received the EPA Clean Up Grant for the 9.2 acres of mill buildings.  We have many avenues for solutions to resolve the challenges that our community faces."  She added that she will let My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin know when she hears about the issuance or denial of the EPA Clean Up Grant.

She further stated, "Price County United Limited is applying for a Community Change Grant that involves four gateway areas to downtown Phillips, Wisconsin and also some programs that will meet the objectives of the grant.  There are six objectives that we will use to help solve some of our most pressing challenges in the area.  The six objectives are listed in the survey found on our website.  The challenges are low income, poor health, and low life expectancy.  By strategically changing the built environment in key locations in our community, we are providing a solution for future resilience and sustainability.  Key take-aways are to create and preserve local wealth, improve the health of our community, attract youth and workforce while creating a vibrant and prosperous community, and preserving historic character."

We did not receive answers to Questions 1, 3, 4, and 5 regarding which buildings will be affected, when changes may start taking place in Phillips, what will happen if the grants are not awarded, and if there will be migrant housing in downtown Phillips.  On May 13, 2024, we requested the information again from Lyn and Blake, and we will update this article when we receive more information to answer the community's questions.

At meetings with the Phillips Planning Commission, county board, and library board, Lyn has mentioned various buildings, such as Hilgy's LP Gas at 225 South Lake Avenue, Gowey Abstract & Title Company at 215 South Lake Avenue, Express Mart at 235 North Lake Avenue, Fred Mueller Ford at 175 North Avon Avenue, and Lionite at 115 Depot Street.  However, according to the Register of Deeds, as of the time of publication, the only one listed as being owned by PCUL is the Lionite property, which came into PCUL ownership on April 1, 2024.

At those meetings, information and documents were shared by Lyn.  My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin published the following information on March 31, 2024 at this link:  "At the library board meeting in early March, she [Lyn] discussed the possibility of moving the library to a new location.  Some additional proposed changes were presented to the Planning Commission.  One change includes relocating the gas company that is currently downtown.  That area would be replaced with a recreation center and new Chamber of Commerce, along with a parking lot.  There is also a proposed network of trails for outdoor recreation, such as biking, running, and walking.  Downtown parking and sidewalk proposals were also submitted with ideas for possible bump-outs, bike lanes, green spaces, diagonal parking, back-in angle parking, and other possible ideas.  The former Lionite property would include two duplexes for a total of four new residential units in the area where the collapsed portion is currently being removed, plus there would be a parking lot and a boathouse where the current Lionite building is located.  The former Ford building at 175 North Avon Avenue, which is still owned by American Eagle of Phillips, LLC, is being proposed as a "mixed commercial housing development."  There are also recommendations for cleaning up brownfield sites."

Lyn stated there is a survey on the PCUL website and also directed us to review the website for more information.  However, when clicking on "Community Boat & Rec Center," "Phillips Mainstreet Redesign," and "Brownfield Sites," the website stays on the home page.  "Visioning," "Take the Survey," and "Designs" all take a website guest to the survey, so there was no information that we could find to answer our unanswered questions.  If PCUL provides us with answers to the questions we posed, we will update this article at that time.

The PCUL website states someone from PCUL will be at the meeting of the Phillips Common Council on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 at the city hall in Phillips starting at 5 p.m.  The public can attend this meeting.  PCUL is trying to get their plans listed in the comprehensive plan that the city must revise every ten years.  The third item on the meeting's agenda is "Discussion/Action regarding the 2024 City of Phillips Comprehensive Plan."  PCUL's plans are in the draft document, according to PCUL.

The current clean-up of the collapsed portion of Lionite was arranged by the previous owner, Sanjay Patel; the City of Phillips; and Bennish Scrap and Transport, who approached the Committee of the Whole in December 2023 asking to clean up the property and take the scrap metal.  This clean-up is almost complete.


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(This post was last modified: 05-14-2024, 06:03 PM by My Northern Wisconsin.)
Businesses like Lionite & Ford gave jobs to lots of people so there goes the possibility of jobs coming back. Then to put migrant housing in the center of down-town Phillips seems like a bad idea to me. Do we need electric vehicle charging stations where we get freezing weather & see no electric cars??? Does this take buildings like Lionite & Phillips Ford out of the property tax roll if a non profit buys them & that will generate no money for the city???!!! I dont think they will have to pay that. Why would people who say they want to help Phillips take that away as a non profit when they could do all that as a regular business & really help the city??? Bet those board members are taking salaries. Reminds me of the businesses who got Covid money in Price County from our governement. Tens of thousands of dollars each business mostly. I prefer to shop at the ones that didn't take Covid money but sooo many got money while still being open during covid & making money!!! They started as loans but the talk was to apply & the government would forgive those loans & they did forgive those loans & businesses got & kept the free money!!! Take take take. Forgive loans, take grants and bankrupt our country.