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Bosch restaurant stands in the path of Highway 100 plans

Oct. 5, 2009

Hales Corners — While reconstruction of Highway 100 isn't scheduled to begin until 2014, the fate of an iconic Hales Corners restaurant stands out as a more immediate concern.

The state Department of Transportation's preferred plan for reconstructing Highway 100 calls for the relocation of several buildings near Janesville Road, among them the historic Bosch restaurant, 5871 S. 108th St.

The DOT unveiled its latest plans to the public at an informational meeting Sept. 30 at Hales Corners Plaza, 5301 S. 108th St.

Since the DOT began formulating plans a few years ago to widen Highway 100 in some places, the future of the restaurant - a Hales Corners landmark since the late 1800s - has come under question as the department studied reconstructing the Janesville Road, Forest Home Avenue and 108th Street intersection.

The state is also proposing a roundabout as part of the reconstruction of that three-road interchange.

If it comes to it, the restaurant will probably move to a spot near its current location, owner Rick Putlitz said.

Putlitz said he would move it to a few parcels he owns just to the north of the Bosch.

What's it worth

There are still many variables left to be decided - starting with the the DOT's appraisal of the Bosch property, Putlitz said. If plans go forward, the DOT would acquire the Bosch restaurant, two homes and four other businesses.

"It all boils down to how the appraisals come through," Putlitz said.

From the DOT's perspective, the restaurant's historical status presents unique issues that need to be worked out, project manager Vida Shaffer said.

The Bosch will soon be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, Shaffer said. Putlitz said the restaurant has already been deemed historic by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

"We kind of handle Bosch as a special property," Shaffer said. "Since it's historic, we're going to start consultation with the property owner and with the state historical preservation office to find out what is a good plan for Bosch.

"Our intent is to try to move the building."

Adding to village's concerns

Village President Robert Ruesch hopes it doesn't come to that.

Ruesch was sharply critical of most of the DOT's plan for Highway 100 in Hales Corners, saying it would be a tremendous loss for the village's tax base and erase efforts to redevelop its most important commercial corridor.

The DOT has a responsibility to preserve as much of the Bosch area as possible, Ruesch said, noting the historical significance of not only the restaurant, but the other businesses and houses that would be taken out.

"The Bosch must be kept at its current location," he said.

Design considerations

The decision to propose shifting the road in the Bosch area to the west came after the state determined that towers and utilities on the east side of the road could not be relocated.

The DOT then decided that shifting the highway to the west and expanding to eight lanes there was the best option out of two dozen alternatives considered near that intersection.

Putlitz said the relationship between him and the DOT has been good throughout the process and he hopes that continues as the project progresses.

"They have been very helpful to me as far as communications and explaining" the plans for reconstruction, he said. "I just hope they play fair."

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