June 9, 2009

Uptown photos: Progress on arts district, sculpture placed and Brantner's exterior

Arts District coming along

Work is progressing on the city-owned building at 1526 Washington Ave. The new second-story windows look great and Katt Construction is well on its way to transforming the building into an attractive store front. (See the building pre-construction here.) Next up is exterior work on 1418 Washington Ave. down the street.

Sculpture placed
Uptown's new sculpture was placed on Tuesday. The 9 1/2-foot tall sculpture, donated to the city by artist Nic Noblique, sits on a 2-foot-8-inch pedestal at the corner of Washington Ave and 13th St. (See our post here.)

We're overdue on this, but Brantner's new storefront at 10th and Washington Ave. looks great.


  1. Art District has no clothes. Just an other excuse to allow RCEDC and the City to side step the money lost in this huge black hole.
    Racine can do so much more.

  2. I can remember a little (railroad?) shack where the red art form is. I would see a chair outside it and sometimes a bike there too. I often if some homeless person was living there.

  3. Maybe we can put in more cash checking stores, a family dollar, and some liquor stores since this is Racine's idea of development.

    I am just thrilled i voted for Dickert.

  4. Anon 4:49 p.m. Amen to that, bro! He's been mayor for 21 days and still the city hasn't replaced Paris as the heart of the French Republic!

    Geez, have a little patience...

  5. Preach on brother Pete.

    "Left a good job in the city. Working for the man every night and day. But I never lost a minute of sleeping worrying about the way things might have been. Big wheel keep on turning. Proud Mary keep on burning. Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river."

    Remember your roots people and don't quit. We're here to stay and going to make things better. Might not be there yet but we're on the way.

  6. I too remember that little shack and also wondered about the homeless cat I would see hanging around crushing cans and placing eclectic objects around that area.
    This was probably in the late 80's and early 90's, I think that was actually a property and I guess he was not homeless with that little shack, tho I don't think a 6' tall guy could have even stood up in the thing.

    Anyway I drive down 13th to got to Washington in the morning on the way to work and the public art sculpture surely looks better than what was there before.

  7. I would have preferred a sculpture in the center of a fountain but this is a start.

  8. I'm surprised the Johnson family went along with this sculpture instead of a giant statue of Sam or some other relative in that location.

    Maybe they have alternate plans to carve all of their faces into the side of the quarry like Mt. Rushmore and call it art.

  9. The Uptown Art District is not Dickert's fault for this "thing" we can thank Brian O'Connell of the office of City Development and the nuts at RCEDC.
    Number of Artiest that have moved to Racine because of this 0
    Sweetheart deals well 2 at least
    one for J Wax and the no bid contract for the Web Page.
    Myself I am surprised that there is not low income housing attached to this whole mess, but its not done yet who knows what a man who hates Community Gardening as much as Brian O'Connell of the office of City Development does will think of.

  10. The work, which Noblique and city officials hope will attract new artists and other visitors to the neighborhood, cost the city $40,000 via a federal Community Development Block Grant, said City Development Director Brian O’Connell.

    The above from the J-T said this cost the City 40K

    Another reason City Development Director Brian O’Connell has got to go. Can he please take RCEDC with him?

  11. Heather in Caledonia6/10/2009 8:19 AM

    Thanks for mentioning Brantner's new storefront - I think it looks great, too. Nice job!

  12. No one on this blog offers any solutions and more importantly and capital to invest in Uptown. The reason the artist district was appealing is it was thought that these outside investers would be more willing to take a risk here than the locals and actually live above their businesses. You are not going to find many takers from national retailers to come to uptown.

  13. "No one on this blog offers any solutions and more importantly and capital to invest in Uptown"

    AS I have said before and will again the first thing the city had to do is clean the place up. Use the Police and UNIT to force owners to take care of the buildings or sell them. Use the RPD to get rid of the gangs.
    Use Unit to force the junk shops to clean up the store fronts.
    The Free market is trying to work to shut them down with little business.
    On the face of it the Arts District was a silly idea since 6th st was all ready called that.
    As well only Mayor Gary (I love kids) Becker thought that anyone was going to move to the Uptown to open a gallery when so many of them come and go from Main St.
    Why no investment from folks in Racine? Look how many business get the big no now from the City you think anyone will try there?

    The Uptown Bid is kinda like DRC I think but with much less to work with and more ideas of grander from that leadership.

  14. So Colt, that's your development plan? I agree the city suffers from not enforcing building codes consistently but there are no gangs hanging out in Uptown.

    So you will bring your business to Uptown if the "clean it up"? What does that actually mean? What codes are not being enforced? Who should be responsible for marketing the area to risk taking investors? We can debate on what the city should have done but the real question is what should be done to get investment in the district. You haven't yet provided your vision just criticism.

  15. You get businesses by lowering the tax burden. By loosening the red tape involved. The control freaks, ie. Nanny council, RCEDC, Brian O'Connell included couldn't attract an ant hill with cotton candy. Give incentives, like little interference and get the heck out of the way. And no it will not be all liquor stores and pawn shops. I like the artist idea but somebody's plan is flawed. Have we surveyed any artists?

  16. @pete:

    As far as mocking me for already going off on Dickert, maybe you should do some reporting and check the following:

    1.) Actual, concrete details of the 10 year plan. I read a little about this on the JT website and it consisted of Cleaning up the root river (good idea), stopping day care centers from selling drugs in Racine (not exactly a scourge of the community yet), and serving appetizers from local businesses to boaters. Wow. How inspiring.

    Since one of the reasons I (and I'm sure other voted for him) was because of this plan, I would expect him to tell us what exactly it was AFTER the election.

    2.) Who exactly is behind the idea to create a historical district?

    As far as development plans for uptown, I don't really have a huge issue with it becoming an arts community. My personal idea is to give some space to artists, and create an urban enterprise zone. This means to allow businesses to bypass some permit processes and lower their taxes to an almost nominal rate for a period of 5-10 years to move into uptown. Existing businesses can be grandfathered in if they agree to improvements to their buildings (if needed).

    I'd also like to see a moratorium passed by the aldermen of Racine on developing any local low income housing for a period of 5 years within city limits. But, hey, that is just me.

  17. My plans for the Uptown would include use of a bulldozer a wrecking ball. No gangs? I was there talking to business this morning. I saw gang members, saw drug sales too. I saw a lot of buildings that should be IMHO knocked down. I also talked to business that fully believe they have been targeted to be forced to move to help "bring business" to Racine. (might this be Brian O'Connell ?)
    Talked to business that have asked the powers that be what is going on so they might help out but nothing, could it be because they are Black/Hispanic owned?
    Is the Uptown nothing more then a "little DRC" ?
    Is it not a conflict of interest to have the largest property owner be in charge of the Bid?

  18. Urban Pioneer6/10/2009 5:03 PM

    Despite the major improvements to the featured store. I have to agree with Colt. In fact I proposed this repeatedly for several years. Remove ALL of the stores on the North side of the Wash. Ave. and make a wide grand Blvd. thru there so the street traffic, as well as Bike and pedestrian traffic can move smoothly thru district. with ample parking on the South side of the Street. The Center Blvd. could be filled with a Brick sitting area or a garden area, worked by volunteers.

    This would make the journey from West Racine to Downtown, much more visually appealing. It would create an infill of businesses on the south side of the Street, as well increase demand to fill existing buildings from West Racine, thru "Mid-town" and all the way into the ORIGINAL arts district of 6th St.

    Perhaps the new Red chunk of metal can be the center piece of the Garden in the middle of the Blvd.

    Please folks before we waste anymore money on Becker's Folly, we really need think ahead. Our city's population isn't growing it's shrinking..we don't need more buildings, we need Less!

  19. Supposedly Becker based this on some community in Kentucky. I just bet that community didn't have DRC, RCEDC,Brian O'Connel and the nanny council. Artists should not be that hard to attract. Where is the 10 year plan? For real. I want to know if it makes sense. Show us your not another Becker clone.

  20. 12:06

    The Mayor is not a Becker clone, he has interesting out of the box ideas.
    You are right on however when it comes to DRC, RCEDC,Brian O'Connell of City Development. Myself I think that Hamas would do far better job