In reviewing some of our policies in Shorewood, perhaps we need to ask the question, what are the main objectives and underlying purposes for our present “redevelopment” activities?
What is it that we would want to develop again, beside the village's infrastructure?
Why should we want to interfere with private land and buildings?
Rather than develop again something that we've perhaps never had, do we really want to create a center for commercial and social activity or do we have some other objectives in mind?
Our policy makers, Shorewood Village Boards past, it seems at some point became interested not only in maintaining but in increasing private property values. Isn't that what we really want to do?
Are there sound public policies directed toward developing a cohesive business district that will work here today?
Or are we primarily asking developers to place commercial on the ground floor and condos above? Is this what is going to give us a cohesive and integrated business district?
If Pick-n-Save redevelops should they provide for condos above the ground floor as that seems to be the way to go? Perhaps a good idea? Would condos over Sendiks also apply some day?
Is the fact that we have sufficient land area for commercial development contributing to our urge to develop the whole strip of Oakland Avenue as business? Have we given consideration as to whether there is a market for this over the long run? If not, what are we doing in this kind of business?
The magic in commercial development used to be that it wouldn't contribute to increased school enrollment.
But today we are seeking more children for our community as each enrolled child brings in State funds and helps to fill our rather spacious school buildings. On the contrary, commercial doesn't bring in school children. I thought that we knew that?
Do we still believe that by increasing the tax base that the village will get more revenue so that then it could reduce the tax rate? Thus it would reduce the tax bill for each home and property owner. Have we seen evidence of this?
Some years ago, Shorewood learned of an administrative instrument introduced by the State to assist redevelopment projects by making it possible to borrow from created land values of the future through this device called Tax Incremental Financing.
Meanwhile the Business Improvement District is trying to convince other businesses to locate here in Shorewood to improve the magnetic attraction of a cluster of businesses.
Developers and potential businesses are finding that the high value of land, which we are attempting to achieve through our policies, adds too much to the cost of operation and that other inducements are required.
Shorewood has been trying to provide inducements but apparently they are not adequate or sufficient. Meanwhile we are experiencing calls for higher rents in a still declining economy. This seems to be resulting in the dislocation of businesses.
There seems to be a number of objectives laid out by the Village which appear to be at cross purposes. I've attempted to find some explanation in other postings.
But the real question to be asked here is, do we really know how to develop a business district in Shorewood and is it at all feasible?
The purpose of this positing is to provide questions for a review and some basis for the Village Board to engage in discussion and in re-examination of present redevelopment policies.
What are we trying to do here besides expanding the tax base? What are the signs of success? Shouldn't our main object really be that of developing a viable business district?
Should we clarify what we are really trying to do here? I hope that we shall be finding some answers to some of these questions.