Buyer of former Cassville power plant property envisions grain storage

CASSVILLE, Wis. — The former site of a power plant could host a new grain terminal and freight loading and unloading operation after a portion of the property was sold this week.

Alliant Energy, which operated the former Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville until 2015, closed a sale of a 10.1-acre parcel to local business owner Charlie Wamsley.

“It just seemed like a good opportunity,” he said. “My proposal is to put a grain terminal in there to help serve this area and bring jobs to town.”

The $140,000 sale also includes an easement for use of a barge slip area that adjoins the lot.

Wamsley, who owns Wamsley Excavating & Quarry Products and Eagle View Real Estate, said the site also lends itself to barge and rail shipping.

“There are a lot of things I have to look into to make it a feasible investment for myself and job opportunities in town,” he said.

Alliant has spent years marketing the property for redevelopment after demolishing the plant nearly three years ago.

The company sold a 7-acre parcel to ARTCO Fleeting Services in 2018. Three finalists vied to acquire the remaining developable property.

“We are pleased that the site has been sold to a local person that has ties to the Cassville community,” Alliant said in a statement. “Mr. Wamsley has a successful business in Cassville, was born and raised there, and his family has roots in the community. He understands the history of the site and its significance and importance to Cassville.”

Ron Brisbois, executive director of Grant County Economic Development Corp., said a grain producer and logistics company already have inquired about the potential use of a future facility.

The property includes a railroad spur that connects to a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railway, and Brisbois said federal grants are available to upgrade the infrastructure.

“I could see more than grain going out of there,” he said. “Whatever their plans are, we will work with them closely to bring that to fruition.”

Cassville Village President Keevin Williams said he is heartened that the property will see use.

“Hopefully, it’s a business that can be viable and create jobs,” he said.

Alliant retains about 93 acres of the original Nelson Dewey site and has no immediate plans for their use.

The property includes the plant’s former coal yard and ash landfill, an American Transmission Company substation, agricultural land and woodlands located within a floodplain.

Wamsley said he just started exploring business options and has not established a timeline for launching a new venture.

“You can’t do any planning until you own the property,” he said.