Bonduel ‘eyesore’ gets another chance

Cleanup starts at vacant motel property
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Leader Photo by Scott Williams Bonduel Inn manager Emilia Nunez, right, takes a break from cleanup work Friday with, from left, son Carlos Flores, son Harjot Nunez and sister Yolanda Gonzalez.

The Bonduel Inn is making a comeback.

Condemned by health inspectors earlier this year, the property at 505 W. Green Bay St. in Bonduel is under new management with plans to revive the once-popular motel, restaurant and tavern.

Manager Emilia Nunez has arrived with family members to begin an arduous cleanup effort aimed at resurrecting the business, possibly by next summer.

“This is a challenge,” Nunez said. “It’s not impossible.”

The Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department condemned the vacant property in May, declaring it uninhabitable because of mold, standing water, mounds of trash and other signs of neglect. Health officials set a Dec. 31 deadline for the property owner to correct the problems.

Bonduel Police Chief Todd Chaney called it encouraging to see cleanup efforts under way, starting earlier this week.

“It’s a good sign,” Chaney said.

Originally known as Trader Charlie’s and later as The Viking, the business thrived during the 1960s and 1970s as a popular spot for dinner, drinks and nightlife. The high-profile property along County Road BE includes one building with eight motel rooms, another building with a restaurant and tavern and a private residence for an owner or manager.

Owner Linda Krezinski acquired the property in 2008, but neighbors report that the condition deteriorated noticeably in recent years.

Family and friends have indicated that Krezinski developed health problems that made it physically difficult for her to operate the business. It appeared that the compound was vacated before county health inspectors issued their condemnation order on May 6.

Nunez, a Milwaukee resident relocating to Bonduel, said she and Krezinski are friends and that they have agreed that Nunez will take over management of the property with an eye on purchasing it through a land-contract deal.

Nunez said she previously operated a child-care business, while family members have experience with restaurants and taverns. Many family members have joined the Bonduel cleanup effort to help Nunez revive the business.

“My mom has done a lot,” said her son, Harjot Nunez. “If anyone can do it, it’s definitely her.”

After spending days clearing out all the motel rooms and other facilities, the cleanup crew is having a rummage sale this weekend featuring a variety of furniture, tools, TV sets, fixtures, pots and pans, and other merchandise.

That will be followed by several months of repairs, cleanup and renovation to bring the property back to life. Nunez said she might ask the county health department for an extension of the Dec. 31 deadline, with the hope of restarting the motel and tavern first, followed by the restaurant later.

“I’m trying to get the full potential,” she said.

Jon Gardebrecht, a Shawano resident who stopped at the rummage sale Friday, said he remembers seeing the motel, restaurant and tavern in full operation during the property’s heyday. Gardebrecht said he is happy to see Nunez and her family working to restore the place.

Gardebrecht and his fiancee might even become customers later once the restaurant reopens.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s better than it just sitting here being an eyesore.”

Nunez said she and her family do not have a lot of money to spend fixing up the place. But they are encouraged by the progress they have made so far.

Nunez said she is confident the business will become successful again.

“My goal is to get it up and running,” she said. “I think it has a lot of potential. It just needs a very nice face-lift.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Rummage sale

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

WHERE: Bonduel Inn property, 505 W. Green Bay St., Bonduel.