Much of Shorewood's residential property is of the highest of quality and we should be proud of these major elements of our community. We are now engaged in upgrading our “business district.” We should expect that here too, we shall aim toward the highest quality.
We are not only interested in improving our tax base, for the engine that drives our renewal of Oakland and Capitol is the Tax Incremental Financing programs of the state and of our community, but we should always keep in mind that we want to achieve the highest quality center of community possible.
In a sense we should be very selfish about this basic goal. Of course, without private developers to make this possible, we would not be able to begin accomplishing this basic goal. However, we must make them partners in bringing about a high quality community center and business district.
I believe that in the long run, high quality will be more valuable to our tax base than merely occupying this land with passing market opportunity development.
We should take advantage of the system that is allowing us to move toward this renewal and toward modifying these linear areas into a series of high quality focus points, what I've referred to as “ping points” in the discussion on “the ping effect.“
In the planning process over the past few years, it was difficult to get citizens to involve themselves in the various professional approaches and different opinions. It became more important to get a consensus so that we could get started and develop a momentum.
The plans that developed therefore were not driven by a forceful artist or urban designer. They became the basis for an organized start. Plans are not sacred in themselves nor can they take into consideration all contingencies I taught my students that plans are meant to be changed. They are the start of a “hypothetical.”
Every community to function as a community must have a central magnet. Our center is a natural. At the crossing of Capitol and Oakland. This point at the present time is a highway intersection. But it needs to be converted into Shorewood's community center. This becomes a three-dimensional project.
The dominate interest here is the community, not the movement of traffic nor improvement of tax base. All these elements are there, but a community center is dominate. The linear development on Capitol and Oakland all leads to this main central point. The traffic, if it is to remain, as in all likelihood it will, must be placed under a platform forming the basis of our center.
Here we move beyond the “ping point” to a big “bang”. All of our development along these two streets should be dominated by these objectives: high quality development, a number of small focus points and finally the center of our community itself. These concepts could not be fully expressed until will had arrived at this point.
Now that we have come this far in our planning, operations and management, we must give real emphasis to community and there is no denying that the physical structure is the most important element as it must facilitate the social interaction of a community on a daily basis. All our plans can now be aimed at these goals set out here and citizens can evaluate our progress based on these positive objectives. I certainly will.