All three incumbents, members of the Village Board of Shorewood will retain their seats for another three years. Ordinarily we would not expect much change in what our local government is doing within this continuity of governance.
We have for sometime and especially for the last year, however been experiencing some serious repercussions as the result of the overall national and international economy. No one on the Board is going to dismiss how this is affecting Shorewood's development potential.
I'm optimistic that the Board is going to take a new look at what we've been doing over the past five years or so, in view of present conditions. I expect the Board will reconsider what we need to do as a community, as we are observing some very significant structural changes, especially in the economy of the nation and of state.
The residential sector forms the largest proportion of Shorewood economic base. We have no industry and our commercial base is quite slender. Our attempts to push some of the tax burden onto the commercial portion of our base has not proved too successful for whatever reasons.
As we are primarily a residential community, it would seem that we should pay attention to the significance of community and its development, even as it relates to property values.
While we are also experiencing a declining school enrollment, the proportion of elders is on the other hand increasing in numbers. If state subsidies were not involved, school enrollment decline might present no immediate problem.
It seems to me that we should consider ourselves more of an age-balanced community, representive of those three major age groups.
Many of our elderly are living in single family homes that are larger than they need. Yet most senior couples would prefer to live in single standing homes when downsizing, some in group home arrangements.
Given our existing density, it appears that group homes are more feasible than small lots with small freestanding homes. Even group homes are expected to be quite difficult here in Shorewood. We might try a little of both, although more of an apartment-type of group home situation, appropriately designed and with a mixed use may also be the most feasible.
There are places on Oakland and Capitol, at some other areas, where we can go into some apartment type group living. Units would be inward facing, a concept not too easy to visualize for the moment.
Although we would probably be more successful in Shorewood with some attached units as in some hill communities, this approach would require a more in depth understanding of that designed approach.
Rather than attempting to pile up condominiums over street level commercial over an indefinite area and over an indefinite period of time we should be following the concept of community as our underlying force. Then placing commercial enclaves or alcoves at designated places within this overall residential setting.
We therefore should not expect commercial development to pick up a greater share of the property tax burden but rather its own share and that these small shopping bays will better serve the community, therefore contribute to the maintenance of the overall value of the tax base by maintaining a desirable living community, which of course should be our main objective.
We cannot be a community with an industrial base unless industry changes its form so that it can be accommodated in our high density and residential situation. As this is an unknown and only hypothetical, we cannot plan for that within the reasoanable future.
Linear commercial development, although appearing practical, but for various general reasons and for specific locational reasons is not going to work except perhaps on a spot by spot basis. This is the basis of enclave proposals.
It seems that the age-balanced community concept with the development of small homes, preferably ,attached, and selected enclaves of local service type commercial should become the basis of our development plans for next 5 to 10 years. Depending our first phase of that experience, we may extend our planning for small homes to 15 years.
Therefore, it would of course, be reasonable not to continue to follow our same conventional redevelopment path. And certainly, we should encourage and work to maintain the residential part of our community at its present and highest standards.
Our economic situation may serve now to provide us the time to re-examine our new long-term opportunities. And we should take advantage of this situation. Let's expand our thinking beyond the present framework. We can bring some siginificant change to our future outlook.