September 30, 2009

West Racine turns out to debate future development

Tom Tousis takes questions about his proposed development from the crowd
Wednesday night at Gethsamane Lutheran Church in West Racine.

Plans to build a grocery store, restaurant, bank and gas station got a boost Wednesday night during a raucous neighborhood meeting at Gethsamane Lutheran Church.

About 175 people turned out to discuss the vacant lot at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Boulevard. The majority backed Tom Tousis's $5 million proposal and dominated the spoken comments during the two-hour forum. Only two people spoke against Tousis's plan.

Written comments taken during the hearing suggested a stronger opposition. Of the more than 100 comments collected, 47 supported a gas station on the site and 28 opposed a gas station. Another 22 comments generally spoke in favor of Tousis's proposal, but made no mention of a gas station. Six comments addressed other issues.

The hearing turned heated as it focused on Tousis's proposal. It started out as a general discussion of restrictions and recommendations a citizen's group in West Racine put together for the vacant lot, which is located in the 3100-block of Washington Blvd. But conversation turned almost immediately to Tousis's proposal, which is the only active proposal for the site.
About 175 people attended the public hearing about the vacant lot at the corner of
Washington Avenue and West Boulevard in West Racine.

Supporters rallied around Tousis's plans to building businesses that would created 50 jobs on the site, plus construction jobs to build the 25,000-square-foot project. They also noted the project would generate tax revenue to pay back loans the city took out to demolish the buildings leased out to a check cashing business, a cigarette store, Western store and tatoo parlor

But Dick Hinsman, who owns a building next to the site, said he opposed the project because it would cut into his building's property value. He later said Tousis approached him about what could be done to make the project more acceptable. Hinsman's response: "Nothing."

"That's my story and I'm sticking to it," Hinsman said.

Alderman Jim Spangenberg also spoke against the project, but mostly defended himself from what he described as attacks on his business and his family. When he was finished, a woman yelled out: "Why are you acting so unprofessional?" Spangenberg didn't respond, though a woman sitting near him answered: "What was unprofessional?"
Alderman Jim Spangenberg spoke against a proposed gas station on the site.

Toward the end, the meeting gave up an sense of being about a draft list of recommendations that will be presented to the city's Redevelopment Authority next Wednesday. Instead, audience members asked Tousis questions about his project. A few bits of new information emerged:

* Tousis's proposed sit-down restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
* He's planning to study the ground beneath the proposed grocery store to determine if a basement is possible on the site.
* Tousis said video gambling was not part of his business plan.
* The proposal will preserve the Farmer's Market. Tousis plans to sell produce bought at the Farmer's Market.

The hearing also revealed another developed had looked at the site about a month ago, but they pulled out of consideration after discovering three unbuildable utility easements on the site. The developer was interested in building a "Gooseberries" grocery store.
City Development Director Brian O'Connell watched the hearing from the balcony.
Here he's answering a question from the audience.

That leaves Tousis's proposal as the only one up for consideration. It'll also appear before the RDA on Oct. 7, the project's first step in winning city approval to begin construction. It's an important meeting because the RTA - which is run by appointed volunteers - owns the vacant lot in West Racine and needs to agree to any development.

It's unclear how the RTA's vote will go. Members Pete Karas and Scott Terry are likely to vote with Tousis, while Spangenberg will vote against. That leaves Rep. Cory Mason, who could be swayed by Tousis's signed deal to use local union workers to build the project, along with RTA Chairman John Crimmings and commission members David Lange and Robert Ledvina to settle the issue.

Mayor John Dickert said in an interview this week he was looking forward to reviewing the details of Tousis's project to cut through hurt feelings. He added there's a practical aspect to the proposal.

"We need to take the emotion out of it," he said, noting any new development helps the city's tax base. "My job is not to get emotional. It's to benefit the taxpayers in this city."

"Are there any other developers looking at that site?" Dickert added.

County Board Supervisor Van Wangaard spoke in favor of Tousis's proposal, including the gas station.

Tim Casey, the Realtor in charge of the property, answered that question during Wednesday night's meeting. While others have looked at the land in recent months, no one other than Tousis had been interested enough to submit plans for city review.

Aldermen Greg Helding, Terry McCarthy, Aron Wisneski and Spangenberg attended the Wednesday night meeting, which was moderated by Rev. Al Guetzlaff. City Development Director Brian O'Connell was also in attendance.

Keith Deschler asks Alderman Aron Wisneski a question.

About 105 people left comments on their preferred use of the West Racine site.


  1. Wow this mayor sounds more and more ridiculous each time I read a quote! Anyhow, good luck to Tousis!

  2. I noticed that the boat simulator was at the BP on Durand today... where was the Post's article about that?

    Or did they refuse to pay for advertisement that the Post gives to Mr. Tousis for free?

  3. here we go again, all kinds if blogs from people who were not there, but deceided to wake up and sit at the computer. This is about west Racine and Racine in general. How we need to get something going on that corner to stimulate our local economy. People we have a good proposal in front of us let's not let this one slip away.

  4. I live in West Racine and was at the meeting. There were certainly a variety of opinions, but the neighbors near the site carried the most weight. Overwhelmingly we agreed that it has to be a right fit for the neighborhood, and that the proposal on the table sounds good. Some people cared mostly about their own interests... "my union job" or "my taxes". What about those who have to live right next door?

    The meeting deteriorated when a number of knuckleheads kept bringing up issues that couldn't be resolved in that forum.

  5. I was there, the meeting was a great venue for those of us that wanted to express or opinion's. My hat is off to Aron for the way he seamlessly handled the few moments that tension showed it's ugly face. (One instance in particular)

    We have been given an opportunity to get a Grocery store back in West Racine. The bonus portion of the development is three fold, a sit down resturant,a drive thru bank, and a safe familar place to get gas. Those that support the development view the gas pumps the same as I, we use it why not drive a block to get it as opposed to a mile.

    This development as proposed is cutting edge. Racine at the turn of the century was the manufacturing hub of the Midwest. That has obviously changed, but we now sit with two opportunities to develop cutting edge facilities in our back yard. One of those developments is the Clean Beach Facility
    why not invest in projects that will be the envy of other communities. The second is Mr, Tousis project. We should open our eyes to what has been a very well thought out "GREEN" building. People have said that grocery stores don't sell gas, I say why not? This building could be a model for the way small communities all over the country build multi use building within restrained and confined areas. The Washington Market project, with it's innovational "green" approach to construction,limits enviromental impact by utilizing solar energy, a waste food generator, rain water holding tank for the purpose of maintaining the landscape, low impact 3rd generation LED lighting, 0 VOC coatings, and LEEDS approved building practices.

    This project will also put 75-100 local building trades men and women to work. By generating short term construction jobs this development could mean the difference between Joe C. being able to afford his next mortgage payment or not. Then we follow with the 50 or so full time service job's, jobs that can allow mothers to work while their children are at school, job's that will help them, help out the family with the ever rising cost of living.

    We, not only those that live in West Racine, but the residents of Racine as a whole need to look not where we are going to be next week but think where we want to be 30 or 40 years from now! This is a city greatly versed in our religous and ethnic heritages, people from all colors shapes and forms with one hopeful goal to coexist and prosper.

    I can only hope, that the RTA, will have heard the many voices of
    those people that support this project and vote "YES" on October 7

  6. Will tricky Tommy put it in writing that there will be no porn mags and gambling machines?? Just curious.

  7. 6:12 whoever you are thank you for keeping it positive.

  8. 10,000 sq ft is not a grocery store, its a mini mart. Tousis is VERY well known for saying one thing and doing an other. Just ask anyone that has had business dealings with him.

  9. Bill the Cat10/01/2009 7:48 AM

    Wake up this is far from over. Today you will be hearing from those who want the Farmer's Market kept there.
    Few if any who use the Market trust Tousis to keep it.

  10. Bill the Cat, during the meeting Rich Harding specifically asked Tom three questions:

    1. Are you going to have the video gambling machines on the premises? Tom's answer was an emphatic, "No."

    2. Are you going to leave an open outdoor area available for the Framer's Market to keep operating? Tom's answer was, "Yes."

    3. Are you going to purchase produce from those who participate in the Farmer's Market and sell that produce through your store? Tom's answer was, "Yes."

    He gave these answers in front of the 175+ people that attended the meeting. If he doesn't follow through, he'll have them to answer to (and Anon 6:24, you're probably right, the city council or RTA should get it in writing).

    The general consensus of the meeting came down to the vast majority of the people wanting a grocery store, restaurant and gas station. It was pointed out to Aron Wisneski that, with an overwhelming consensus from the people to support Tom, why not assist him in expediting this matter and get the ball rolling? Wisneski's answer was that of a typical politician saying that there are rules and regulations in the steps necessary to approve the proposal. What he was being asked was, based on the favorable attitude of the residents, to use his influence with the City Council and RTA to move this project forward as quickly as possible, but I think that went over his head.

    Jim Sapngenberg just came off as a ticked off idiot. He flatly stated that he was against the gas station, but offered no explanation why. Then he launched into a tirade about how unacceptable it is that his family and business have been threatened over the issue. He went on to say that he knew who was initiating the threats, but that he wasn't going to mention any names. Well fine, if you know who it is, why not spew your hostility at them instead of the fine people of West Racine who have not threatened you and only came there to discuss the development issue. He was very unprofessional in the way he handled that and just appeared to be generally hostile to everyone in the room.

    I, for one, would definitely use the grocery store (Tom promised that there would be meat and produce there), I would also use the restaurant and gas station (and bank if it's a branch of my own Chase Bank). This is a good plan for West Racine and an opportunity for Tom to prove that those making complaints about his character are wrong.

  11. Character is not defined by maybes, it is defined by actions. Check out past actions to determine character.

  12. I want to thank Alderman Wisneski and Alderman McCarthy for running a great meeting. It is great that two Alderman actually want to hear what the people around the property want. This is such a welcome change.

    Almost two hundred people were there and it was pretty clear to everyone in that room which way the winds are blowing with the proposed project.

  13. Tim the Shrubber10/01/2009 11:46 AM

    "Wisneski's answer was that of a typical politician saying that there are rules and regulations in the steps necessary to approve the proposal. What he was being asked use his influence with the City Council and RTA to move this project forward as quickly as possible, but I think that went over his head."

    1. Hmmm...perhaps the Alderman and answered that way because 'there are rules and regulations in the steps necessary to approve the proposal'.

    2. If Wisneski does what you suggest, there are people that would then slam him for playing favorites, being corrput, practicing cronyism, etc. We see those accusations all the time in the comments here at Racine Post.


  15. Urban Pioneer10/01/2009 12:45 PM

    Glad to hear such great support for the Tousis project. Sorry I wasn't able to attend. Tom has indicated he will support the Farmers Market, economically and provide a place for them. All Great, provided it's a voluntary action on his part. Should Tom be required to pay whatever price for produce the Farmer's marketers demand, in order to fulfill his commitment? Is Tom able to charge a rent for the space the Farmers are taking? Perhaps a fee for electrical, water usage, and clean-up cost? I would certainly not expect Tom to have a "Contract" to offer that for free. If Tom wants to do it for PR reasons, or his own magnanimity, That's great. But MUST he be required? And if so for how long? What if the Farmers choose to re-establish somewhere else? Would Tom be the bad guy?

  16. Why would I buy produce that Tousis bought from the farmer's market folks and then will mark up to make a profit?

    And whoever said 10,000 sq feet does NOT make a grocery store is correct. I don't know why people can't get that through their heads? All it will be is a mini-mart like the Kwik Trips - some fresh fruit in a basket next to the day-old hot dogs tumbling over and over under heat lamps near the checkout where you'll pay for your gas and big gulp.

    I don't care if this is green. I could care less about union jobs. (And for those who said these jobs will help women get full time jobs while their kids are at school? Yes, that's exactly what we need, more parents out of the home. NOT.) I care that what's put on this site is the right thing that will last and will add to the character of the neighborhood.

    As of yet, I see nothing that fits that description. Something, anything, isn't necessarily better than nothing.

    I was NOT at the meeting.

  17. The floor space in the Pig across the street that the customers had access to was 7500 square feet. That was stated at the meeting last night by the former owner of the building. The floor space for the proposed grocery store, the area that the customers have access to, will be 10,300 square feet.

    The proposed grocery store will be 1/3 larger than the Pig across the street. How can you say that that is not a grocery store. Do you even know how big 10,000 square feet is? Maybe if you had gone to the meeting like the rest of us did you would actually understand the proposal.

  18. USA in God We Trust10/01/2009 2:38 PM

    I heard people mention unions at the meeting.
    It shouldn't matter whether union workers or not are employed by any future development, just that jobs are available to those in this area/region.

  19. Thank you 1:44, I mean Jim, for your gracious comment's. And I was NOT there either.

  20. Keith W. Deschler10/01/2009 3:10 PM

    I was at the meeting last night,and would like to personally thank the fine folks who showed great leadership and allowing the folks in West Racine speak their minds.although the purpose of the meeting was to discuss a draft for future development Aaron and Mike allowed us to give our views on the proposal sbmitted by Tom Tousis.This was very important to alot of the residents who took time out of their evening to come and be fully infomed and heard.As for the slanderous rant by our alderman,he should be ashamed of himself.My only hope is he sees the will of the people and rights himself,if not I guess I'll be looking towards April of 2011.It should make the job of unseating him all that much easier.I after all will be seeking that seat!!!!

  21. Is the 10,000 square feet the grocery store only, or the total floor space? I couldn't attend the meeting, and missed Van's "campaign speech".

  22. "DESCHLER FOR ALDERMAN in 2011" That sounds so sweet!!

  23. The total space for the grocery store is 13,800. The first floor is 10,300 and will be entirely area accessible to customers (produce, butcher, checkout lanes, packaged goods, essentially grocery items). The second floor is 3,500 and is storage and offices. This is where the grocery items will be located. The restaurant is 3,024 square feel and will be a full service sit down restaurant.

    Other details on the project are in previous articles on the Racine Post, which is where I got this information. I recommend a look.

  24. Anonymous 2:46

    My name is Holly. I'm a woman and I was not at the meeting.

    That's the problem here. Everyone thinks everyone is someone else.

  25. look at the sign across the street, the old pig is 18000 sq ft. i live in 3000 sq ft home and i know the old pig is more the 3 times the size of my house. i could care less what goes in there, just be honest about it.

  26. I am curious why we seem to think the views of the "neighbors" should carry more weight than other taxpayers.

    What developer in their right mind would want to try to put up a project and deal with all these "neighbors"?

    If I were an real estate investor I would say to West Racine, go to h?/>. I'll put my money into somewhere else.

    Next thing we know, the neighbors will be insisting on a maximum gas markup.

  27. 1:44 said:
    "And whoever said 10,000 sq feet does NOT make a grocery store is correct. I don't know why people can't get that through their heads? All it will be is a mini-mart like the Kwik Trips - some fresh fruit in a basket next to the day-old hot dogs tumbling over and over under heat lamps near the checkout where you'll pay for your gas and big gulp."

    This is what I'm afraid of. At the meeting, I heard a lot of people saying a grocery store would be great for West Racine. I didn't actually hear anyone say, "What West Racine really needs is a gas station." I think we, as West Racinians, are willing to accept the gas station in order to get the grocery store and restaurant. My fear is that the deal is accepted but what we get is actually a gas station - primarily - with an overglorified convenience store.

    I hope that won't be the case.

  28. In corporate grocery stores the back stock area is bigger than the customer area. They are limited on when they get their deliveries and corporate decides what and when they get it.

    With that being said, the building the Pig was in is not 18,000 square feet. That number on the sign includes the parking lot that the Pig owned.

  29. And I would trust the woman who owned the building who said at the neighborhood meeting that the floor space was 7500 square feet.

  30. And one more comment because this point really has been grinding my gears.

    Have any of you ever worked in a grocery store?

    Do any of you understand how a grocery store works?

    Can anyone actually name a business that has a customer space, not total building space, of just over 10,000 square feet? How about finding one and then making a comparison instead of listening to one person who instead of having valid concerns or trying to make the project better, has a personal interest in not seeing a project succeed there.

  31. It is far from over.

  32. I do not live in Racine, but I do frequent the Farmers Market. I actually drive about 6 miles to get to it. Why would it be such a big deal for the farmers Market to move?

    It doesn't matter to us if it is 5 miles or 3 miles as long as the vendors have good produce and remain local farmers. There are tons of open spaces, and probably better spaces for this venue. So I ask... why is it such a big deal to move.

  33. Keith-

    What was slanderous about Spangenberg's comments? Karen has admitted to trying to kill the BID district.

    Thanks for letting us know that your interest in this, like Wangaard's, is political. The Union guys who packed the room were there for their own self interest. The Hardings were there to advance the teabagger cause. Tousis' waitresses were there because their boss said so. Sorensen was there advancing her interests. Of course, we had Tousis himself and his PR boy, Zak Williams.

  34. Anonymous 10/02/09 @ 5:42 a.m.
    I believe that Keith had made mention of slander because Mr. Spangenberg hinted that people closely involved with Tousis had made personal attacks on him and his family. I have lived in West Racine for 12 years and been working with Tom since February to gain support for a project we so deeply need. Myself,Tom,Van,Karen nor Zak have not made any attacks on Jim, his business, and definately not his family. On the other hand I have read countless blogs of negativity about Tom and his father Gus.

    Our intent was from day one to get the support of the people before going to the city with the project we are proposing. I personally contacted Mr.Wangaard because, #1 he is a life long resident of West Racine #2 This is his district as an elected official of the county. Van did not hear about this and decide it would be a great opportunity to get press! During the first small group meeting we had, (approx. 15 people) Mr. Wangaard drilled Tom with countless questions and after the hour long meeting stated that he not only believed in the project but would help us not as a politician but as a resident of West Racine.

    Karen is not the only business person that wants to get rid of the BID. The BID was set up to attract new business, and to maintain that which exist. Many questions need to be answered in reference to the BID, Issues with accounting,were has the money been spent. The BID board has some how morphed into a small group "The West Racine Work Group" if you don't believe me look up West Racine BID on the net read the minutes, On July 29 2009 the minutes reflect that the majority of the meeting was used to discuss Tom's proposal.

    The Unions or should I call it like Mr. Spangenbrg did after a City Council meeting, "The irrelevant people". I am a small Union contractor and proud of that. The Union has given me the opportunity to provide my employees with a viable wage and quality healthcare. Is that such a bad thing Jim? The wages that are paid allow my two employees to own homes, cars and so on. If you had noticed the majority of those that attended the meeting were not Union guys but were residents of the area.

    "The watress'", as you had refered to them as, are not just employees of Tom, but are constituants of Mr. Spangenberg himself. Oh so I don't forget they also vote.

    Now we go to Zak, it is no secret that Zak has been a consultant of Tom's. What is the problem with that? Business people throughut history have utilized the services of consultant's. Would it have been more acceptable for Tom to have hired an attorney?

    To Terry and Aron great job at keeping the meeting as civil as possible. All this being said I believe that Jim Spangengerg owes Karen Sorenen and the resident that attended the meeting on Sept. 30 an apology, for his tyrant rant.

  35. About moving the Farmer's Market. The "City" said that they have a place to move to,if only the "City" tell us where that space is!

    Many of us who back the Farmer's Market have learned not to trust The "city" if a simple this is where we have in mind can not be answered, how can we trust the "City"?

    As for Tom's statements about the slot machines/Farmer's Market is he willing to put that in writing.
    Then too if he builds the Gas station the City will not shut him down because Racine does not have the cash to do a brown fields clean up

  36. The bottom line here is whether a all night gas station is the best use of this space. That is the only real issue. Answer is simple. Look at the Speedway at Ohio & Washington. That is what this proposed gas station will end up being. The Speedway has lights and security cameras and still has noise and crime issues. Good-bye to peace and quiet in West Racine if this proposal is rammed through.

  37. This is to my favorite West Racine Alderman, Jim Spangenberg. I have blessed enough to know you over the years. I do believe you when you told me that Jesus spoke to you every morning. I do believe that he has chosen you to do his work here on earth and that you are one of god's angel warriors. I know that the words you say are actually the words of god. I do not doubt you, even though there are others that do doubt you. You are one of gods angels, I know that. The lord shall give you strength Jim, you will be able to build his temple in West Racine, I know it. God Bless you Jim.

  38. Seeing Tousis is such a Union man, i am guessing he'll require the employees of the Mini-Mart join the Grocery Union? Also, who is the rude older lady that is always at BP on Douglas? Is that Tom's Mom or Grandma?

  39. There will be a grocery store on the site.

    What is so wrong paying a higher wage and getting higher quality to build a building?

  40. You people are worried about nothing, he does not have the funding for a project like this. The location on Washington in Uptown fell through because when it came time to put his money where is mouth was, he didn't have any. He'll wait until the plan gets voted down and then play the victim like he always does. Poor Tommy :(.

  41. There is nothing wrong with paying more money and getting and overall better product. What you may not understand is .... knowing West Racine is a hard working blue collar area with some Union members living there, the whole "Union Labor" ploy is part of marketing and a way to get support for the proposal.

  42. Racine, so many clueless people.

  43. There are a lot of criticism flying around here, some of it legitimate and some of it just plain bizarre. I decided to do a little bit of my own research on the project using the articles on the Racine Post. Here is what I found out:

    1. The grocery store, signs, and canopy are going to be done in an historical consistant manner for the neighborhood. Interesting, so I assume that means the canopy will not be metal, but I wonder what it would look like.

    2. According to the plans, the fuel pumps are as far as you can get from any houses.

    3. The latest thing open on the site is the grocery store and it will close at 9PM/10PM depending on weekday or weekend. So not 24 hours.

    4. The lights on the site are going to be 3rd Generation LED with minimal light bleed (I assume this is the same ones the Ruudd is putting on the LA freeway that was announced a couple weeks ago). In addition, the lights are hooked up to motion detectors. So if someone drives onto the parking lot at 3AM to turn their car around, lights will only come on in the area that the car drives. That will really reduce the impact on the neighborhood.

    5. The building runs along Grove Ave, from north to south. That should help block any noise or light on the neighborhood. The bank, which is the least used part of this project is the closest to any houses. The gas pumps are a significant distance from any buildings.

    6. The buildings will be using environmentally friendly equipment to reduce the carbon footprint (whatever that means, but seems consistent with the wish to impact the neighborhood as little as possible).

    7. The grocery store is going to be locally owned and larger, at least the area where the customers are going to be, than the Pig across the street.

    8. The restaurant is a full service sitdown and will also be locally owned.

    9. Tousis is apparently moving his offices to this location.

    Interesting points. Anyone catch anything else? This is what jumped out at me.

  44. Let Tousis build and let's be done with all these trite comments. Time to move forward, and let Spangenberg worry about renovating his own store and upgrading his furniture to something someone actually would want to buy.

  45. Well I am warming up to Tousis. But I would rather he ditched the gas station.

  46. I hope he lets his female employees continue to where the vile, degrading, sexist T-Shirts at this new location...A real classy, religious family I tell ya....LMAO.

    Then again, this is classless Racine...Forget my comments above please.

  47. Now, Spangenberg talks to God! What a wack-job you are Spanky!

  48. And 150 people were there to let their alderman know they support a grocery store with fuel pumps, full service restaurant, and bank.

  49. Actually, 150 people were there to say they want a real grocery store and a nice diner. Most don't care at all about the bank. A few like the gas pumps, a lot will put up with the gas pumps to get the rest, and many don't want gas pumps at all.

    Lose the gas pumps! If they were gone, very few would be upset and almost EVERYONE would get behind this deal. When is the last time that happened? 20 years from now, will we really need gas? Really? Aren't we moving away from that? Is there really a need to add that environmental impact?

    When asked at the meeting, he said if he did not get approval on the pumps, he likely would go forward anyway. Lose the pumps and unify the neighborhood including Alderman Spangenberg. (who votes on the committee....)

  50. I do believe that Jim talks directly with god. I have heard that he sometimes sputters off in the tongues of our lord. Only a chosen few have been able to communicate with god in his chosen language. Jim is much more than our alderman, he is an angel of the lord working to save our sinful souls here on earth. I do believe that Jim knows what the lord has intended for us mortals and any decision that Jim makes is based on divine knowledge that only he is able to receive from our lord. Jim please continue on your crusade to illuminate the path for us to follow to paradise.

  51. Keith W.Deschler10/02/2009 10:32 PM

    If that's the case, I'm thinking a little devine intervention is needed.

  52. Anon 8:24, this has nothing to do with "taxpayers." The property is owned by the city. It will be purchased from the city, which benefits everyone. The reason the views of the "neighbors" is one of the prominent issues is because they have to live with whatever goes in there. It's amazing that you don't understand that concept.

    Again, you seem to have difficulty understanding the developer. He doesn't have to deal with the "neighbors." If the city gives him the go-ahead to build, and there is a majority consensus of the neighbors that WANT the project, what does he have to deal with? The extreme minority that don't want this (Mr. Hinsman and maybe 1 or 2 other people) won't have anything to say about it once the city approves it.

    Based on you ability to discern issue, it's to everyone's benefit that you are not a real estate investor. You also seem to not understand that Tom is not an outside developer. He is a resident of Racine wishing to build a business here.

    The meeting was about what type of business the people in the neighborhood would like to see go in that corner. The overwhelming response was for a grocery store and/or a restaurant. The problem is, THERE ARE NO DEVELOPERS lined up to put in either one. Here is a man willing to satisfy BOTH wishes, with the addition of a gas station. No final plans have been drafted yet. Who's to say that this won't turn into a ground level grocery store and a second level restaurant/office area.

    The request of asking the aldermen to help expedite this issue had nothing to do with secret dealing or corruption. Don't you think that when an overwhelming number of citizens in the area support the idea that government should listen to their voices and expedite issue, Tim the Shrubber? No suggestion was made to skip any procedures or cut any legal corners, only to move the process along as quickly as possible.

    Anon 9:16, this is not a corporate grocery store. It's what would commonly be referred to as a "mom & pop" store because it is privately owned. The owner will decide what gets ordered and when he accepts delivery. Your comment does not apply to this issue.

    Anon 9:33, you are absolutely correct. It just happens that this property is where the Farmer's Market is currently operating, everyone knows where it is, and Tom seems compassionate enough not to force them to move, if they don't want to. If they do decide to move, on their own, more power to them and that will give Tom even more room to build.

    Anon 5:42, I know the Hardings. They were NOT there on behalf of the TEA organization. They were there because they live only a few blocks from this intersection and are just as concerned as everyone else about what goes in there. None of Rich Hardings remarks had anything to do with the TEA movement. In fact, he never mentioned them or said anything about liberties being infringed upon. Your remarks are obviously grounded in liberalism, fear and hate.

    Anon 8:42, not one word that I've ever heard has mentioned an "all night" gas station. But I agree, it should shut down by no later than 10:00 PM for the very reasons you mention.

  53. Keith W.Deschler10/02/2009 10:43 PM

    Don't forget, tommorrow is party on the pavement day. So let's say everybody gives all this a break and enjoys the party of the season see you all there.

  54. This aldderman is a joke. he needs to stop his crying and the fake tears and suck it up. I think he needs to accept the fact that this is the first serious proposal in years and if no one likes it Mr. Tousis will just pick another location. Then you all can look out your windows at a dusty parking lot everyday. that will for sure attract people to the area!

  55. It's funny how Spangenberg didn't sit with Ald. Wisniewski & Ald. Macarthy. For it was that group of aldermen that had secret meetings together in order to halt any progress in the Tousis project before it could even get into proposal form. Kristin N. typed into a July bid board meeting minutes that this "advisory committee" would have its first meeting immediately following tonights bid board meeting. I thought that it was formed earlier this year? Must be my mistake. I'll keep the citizens of Racine informed more about secrecy & corruption as I learn more.

  56. Oh and by the way, about Spangenberg talking to god everyday? I truly believe that he hears voices but I highly doubt that it is the voice of god playing in his melon.