Here's the letter McCarthy wrote to City Development Director Brian O'Connell announcing his support of giving Tom Tousis a 12-month option on the vacant 1.5 acres of land owned by the city:
Members of the Redevelopment Authority:
As one of three Aldermen for West Racine and the Alderman for the 3100 block of Washington Avenue, I have great interest in its redevelopment. I have had much input about this site directly from my constituents. I have also learned a great deal about Mr. Tousis’ proposal by meeting with him and by visiting his Douglas Avenue location.
The proposal has elements that are almost universally desired throughout West Racine (restaurant, grocery). It also has elements that are controversial (gas station, rights to gambling machines if approved for a liquor license). This has led to much debate.
The right development on this corner could be very unifying for the West Racine community and beneficial for the neighboring businesses. I do not support all elements of the current proposal, but I believe that it has potential. Mr. Tousis has shown and continues to show flexibility based on the input of the community.
Granting Mr. Tousis his requested 12-month option on this property will allow continued community discussions and refinement of the proposal as part of the process. It does not mean that the current proposal (or for that matter, Mr. Tousis as the ultimate developer) is approved; rather it means that the first step has been taken. There are no other developers knocking on our doors at this time, nor would I anticipate any soon. Let’s work with Mr. Tousis during the time he has requested to try to make this the right development for West Racine. I support granting the option on this property.
9th District Alderman
McCarthy's letter, sent Sunday, came four days before the Redevelopment Authority is scheduled meet on Tousis' $5 million, 25,000-square-foot proposal. City staff is recommending the RDA, chaired by First Weber's John Crimmings, "receive and file" Tousis' application for the site. That, basically, means the city kill the proposal without further discussion.
McCarthy stands in opposition to that recommendation.