Monday, October 05, 2009

City Hall Out of Touch

So the powers-that-be at city hall have recommended that the Toussis plan for West Racine be received and filed. In other words, killed. The Racine Post has the story.

So what does the Racine Development Authority want in West Racine? Not too long ago, the city was about to pull the trigger on a low income housing project for the same location. If it weren't for the former mayor's transgressions and the ensuing mayoral election, that project may well have gone through.

So city government has demonstrated a preference for low income subsidized housing over the private sector development of a restaurant/grocery store/gas station complex. This makes no sense whatsoever.


Anonymous said...

All hail - Corridor Expert!

Anonymous said...

Why try to have a business when you can work in the private sector as an economic developer? You don't risk anything, never have to make deal one because the taxpayers will provide, and you will get a paycheck even if unemployment hits 80%.

Colt said...

Its not about making sense, if it was the City would not have tore down that block.
If the City wanted to do one act to improve the image of West Racine and prove a neighborhood gathering space, the city would turn it in to a park.
However all The City wants is the most cash for the space. IMHO the slum project as well as this project will kill West Racine.
If/when the gas station goes out of business can the City afford the Brownfield clean up?
And If I may please

Anonymous said...

I am curious Colt, why do you think this project will kill the farmer's market? The city has made it clear that anything on that site has to keep the farmer's market, or come up with a reasonable alternative location at their cost. Tom Tousis has said he wants the market there. In his mind it will attract people to the location and bring long term customers. In addition, he is going to provide permanent signage and access to free utilities. This is a win win for the farmer's market.

Zak Williams said...

That previous comment was mine, I hit the wrong button.

Downtown Brown said...

Colt; exactly across the street from this very location is a huge PARK. There is Mound Cemetery. (green space) there is Washington Park, and all along the North side of Wash. Ave. is a several block long park. If you go South just a few blocks is the "Park" that begins at St. Eds and goes all the way to Taylor Ave. Nearly any of those areas or the 1130 Lot on Wash. Ave could accommodate your "park". At this point the city has too much invested in this lot. We can't afford to let it sit there with gravel piles providing free use to the farmers. I'm not opposed to Farmers Market's per se. But what is the financial contribution to the taxpayers when we essentially let them be squatters on public land. Just a few months ago people were outraged that city gave Johnson a tax exemption for the Howe St. area. and yet the retail "Farmers" market pay nothing to the city or state or schools towards property taxes. If we want to restructure the lot so it will at least break even on the cost to taxpayers. I can't tell u how many people have whined at me about corporate welfare. and yet we are offering "corporate welfare" to farmers.
If lower taxes are what draws business INTO our about you get on board and help cut all of our taxes. Maybe if the taxes were lower in the City of Racine we could better compete with Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Prairie and other communities. If your not in favor of cutting taxes for all then get out of the way and let a tax producer fill that lot!

Anonymous said...

colt - that corner is part of a TIF and the clock has already started ticking. What part of that don't you understand?

Colt AKA Wayne Clingman said...

With respect to Denis who site this is.
There is a lot more going on here then what meets the eye. What for sure I do not know but am interested to finding out.
As the clock ticking... there is a long path between an option and the business opening. This project may never open.
I believe that once the area understands what this means to the area and how critical Farmer's Market can be to parents trying to feed good wholesome food to families and the lack of same in the area,we will see interesting discussions take place in the City.
What truly bothers me is how far "we" are willing to go to save money. Maybe The City should sell Dekoven Woods, could get a good sum for that. Perhaps investing in neighborhoods is a bad idea that we should just let them rot with those who live there, after all we might save a few dollars.
I am sadden that the all mighty dollar seams to be what we are worried about the most.
In the short run I and others might lose the fight but once the focus is changed from the land to how the Farmer's Market helps for very little investment all bets are off.
Thank you sir for allowing me to respond.

Anonymous said...

Colt/Wayne- What part of the farmer's market will stay do you not understand? You never answered the question that was posed to you.

Downtown Brown said...

Further Colt, even if the Farmers Market doesn't stay it can be set up lots of nearby places. including the lot in front of the old PW in West Racine. Or it could be set up where Branums lumber was, and the aforementioned 1130 WAsh ave. Site. There is no sacred burial site of extinguished "Farmers" that mandates it has to remain there.

I'm all in favor of good wholesome fact the grocery store sells some, and the Farmers also meet at State St. And I think they might still meet at Regency Mall?

In Ireland they are called "Travelers" Like tinkers, gypsy's etc. or Peddlers. Not trying to be disrespectful here. just pointing out that "Travellers" Travel...their Storefronts move where they go. They are no rules or "rights" associated with that particular vacant lot. This is not a TT vs. FM argument. it's a TIF vs. vacant rundown lot thing. I was glad to hear that McCarthy thinks it should get a longer look. Get this piece of land out of the control of the City to highest bidder and let the new owner do as they will..If that means the Farmers want to buy it, then sell it to them for the highest bid!
They can then hire Colt to run it full time, and make sure the City collects the taxes for the property from the sale of all that yummy wholesome produce, and collected from the rents each vendor will pay!

In the Lions Den said...

Wait a minute did I read this correctly, the Farmers aren't paying ANYTHING to set up shops and sell their wares inside the city limits?? No Taxes or permits? or special Licenses? Even Hot Dog guy had to get a permit, now I'm not opposed to not taxing businesses..I just don't know how many businesses in our city are selling things or using space and not paying into the tax base?? I know we aren't collecting anything from the workers who toil that land and harvest the crops, The city doesn't collect an income tax from the "Farmers", or a sales tax since it's produce, So the only chance we can tax them is on the land use at the assessed value. Now don't get me wrong..I think we should make it fair.. I propose that every business get's to operate with ZERO property tax in the city. Otherwise these folks shouldn't think they have an entitlement to that land..they are essentially squatters!

Anonymous said...

colt - you need a class in "Municipal Finance 101". Do you even understand the tax ramifications of a TIF that has not development?

Anonymous said...

Farmers Market!!?? Screw the farmers market. How much taxes are being PAID. If mom wants a fresh tomato go to the Pig. Or buy one from the new Grocery store they want to put on this sight. My taxes going up and the City keeps spending. But what about being as vigilant at creating jobs and NEW taxes as they are at SPENDING. It seems they have no problem with raising taxes.

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