October 14, 2009

Study: If done right, gas station OK in West Racine

A consultant hired to study West Racine's retail market said Tuesday night the gas station Tom Tousis wants to build as part of his $5 million development would be OK on the vacant lot at Washington Avenue and West Boulevard.

Kennedy Smith, of the Arlington, Va.-based Clue Group, told the West Racine Business Improvement District said gas pumps would work if they are not located on Washington Avenue, according to people at the meeting.

"She doesn't have a problem with a gas station in the district," one person at the meeting said.

Alderman Terry McCarthy, who was at the meeting, said Smith was more concerned about the look of Tousis's gas station than there being a gas station. "It needs to fit into an urban environment," McCarthy said, paraphrasing Smith's conclusions.

Tousis took steps in that direction recently when he released drawings of a proposed gas station canopy for the site that would resemble a train depot.

A rough sketch of the train depot canopy Tom Tousis is proposing in West Racine.

Overall, Smith's report was good news for Tom Tousis, who is trying to build a $5 million grocery store, restaurant, gas station and bank. Tousis' proposal has met opposition from people opposed to the gas station.

But Smith's recommendations may require changes to Tousis's proposal. She recommended the main buildings run along Washington Avenue with gas pumps located behind the buildings.

"Pulling (the buildings) to the street is critical," the person at the meeting said.

Tousis' team has said in the past it's not possible to build entirely along Washington Avenue because of utility easements that run through the property.

That aside, a supporter of Tousis' project said Smith's report supported their contention that the grocery store, restaurant, gas station and bank would bring foot and car traffic to West Racine that would benefit all surrounding businesses. The key, though, is the development has to built and maintained at a high level.

"It would be a perfect fit as long as it was done right," they said, paraphrasing Smith's report. "It can't be a Kwik-E Mart kind of thing. It has to look completely different from the norm for the gas station you usually see in Racine."

Smith's retail market report for West Racine will be available in two to three weeks. She was also hired by the Racine County Economic Development Corporation to study business districts in Caledonia, Waterford and Union Grove.

The four studies cost $56,900. RCEDC contributed $37,500 and the participating municipalities each contributed $4,850.

68 comments:

  1. Farmer Brown10/14/2009 3:04 PM

    "A consultant hired to study West Racine's retail market said Tuesday night the gas station Tom Tousis wants to build as part of his $5 million development would be OK on the vacant lot at Washington Avenue and West Boulevard"

    They where paid! Does anyone think they where going to say anything else?

    For that kind of money I will say that KRM is a good idea.

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  2. It needs to fit into an urban environment," Terry what is that - West Racine is a dump right now.

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  3. How much is The Post being paid for the fluff coverage? Sure is a lot of money being spent on this. Why? Might it be the opportunity to have 15 slot machines? Tom can say he will not put them in all he wants until he puts it in writing in a contract I do not trust him.

    Racine as we all know has a high infant death rate I see lots of mother's going to the Farmer's Market to get good food. So glad that a gas station may be more critical then needs of the young. This doers not surprise me after all The City Department of development rather leave areas a junked up trash heep then allow neighbors to put in gardens and perhaps a market of some kind. Then too this would be in the inner city where all the City is willing to do is a name change. Lets see what happens when we put faces to the names of the dead kids and show the country what Racine thinks about those who can not help themselfs.

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  4. 3:15 - the high mortality rate must take place in the winter when the Farmers Market is shut down - what an idiot.

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  5. Exactly. If you pay someone $57,000, they will tell you exactly what you want to hear. Duh.

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Anon 3:15-

    Sorry, I left this out of the article. Tousis's proposal creates a permanent home for the West Racine Farmer's Market.

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  8. Farmer Brown and Anon 3:14, The CLUE Group was hired by RCEDC and the West Racine BID Board, not by Tom Tousis. If certain people could comprehend what was written in the article, they might have picked that up on their own. That being said, congrats to Mr. Tousis and those that support his proposal. Good Luck on your future ventures.

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  9. 3:15
    The reson residents, of West Racine,like myself are behind this proposal, is we believe it will keep parinoid drug addicts like you out of our area!

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  10. Whats up with that?10/14/2009 6:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. Does okay mean that it could fit, it could work, it is possible or does it mean the consultant thinks it's an okay idea to implement?

    Ok so it is possible. Doesn't mean it should happen.

    He loses money on the sale of gas, and putting tanks in the ground and putting a fancy train style canopy in dramatically adds to his cost of building. Seems to me he could skip all of that and make everyone happy. I am puzzled why that part is so important to him?

    He talks about how that's the trend in grocery, adding pumps like Woodmans and Walmart. West Racine isn't trendy, isn't state of the art, doesn't have HUGE parking lots. We have foot traffic and don't want car traffic.

    That lousy argument about trends shows he doesn't get West Racine. It's different and special in its traditions.

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  12. I wonder how many people walk to Johnson's Furniture buy a couch, then carry it home on their back? Whoever said that they don't want car traffic for their business is an idiot. I wonder if they understand the concept of marketing. Don't change a thing, all those empty dilapidated buildings in West Racine look great to boaters driving in from Chicago. That do nothing don't change a thing mentality is the reason most of Racine looks like West Racine. Wake up and smell the Wilson's coffee will ya.

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  13. To make West Racine a destination for Racine, requires the use of cars to get there, this inturn increases foot traffic. So Anonymous 7:21 think about it. And I as do many of my neighbors on Blaine and Wright Ave, want to see not just those from West Racine spend their dollars here but all of Racine. Its called Economics 101, get people to see our small and unique shops and they will buy for the owners of those shops. My property value will increase and the tax base will improve. Let the man have his pumps for godsake he is giving us a 5 million dollar improvement.

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  14. I am Anon 7:21:

    I majored in Marketing and have lived in West Racine for over 15 years, in near eyeshot of the site.

    How does gas pumps enhance our shops? It seems to me that no gas pumps differentiate our urban neighborhood better than a whiff of E85 with your kringle. Mr. Wilson won't benefit from the drive through bank.

    There was a time, not so long ago, where many people walked to the Pig for groceries. That was part of the charm of the old girl.

    Tell me Einstein how engaging do you find Walmart with it's gas? How does the megastore mentality fit in your nostalgic ideas of the boutique stores of West Racine?

    Why don't we just sell out the future for the impatient lure of $5M? In that case, why don't we call the 55 unit housing people back... their project was over $7M. Why turn down any developer? It's more $ that we have today?

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  15. Jim's People10/14/2009 9:48 PM

    First of all, I don't believe that we should do anything with a company that isn't christian owned. I have spoken with my alderman many times and me and him agree that only god feering christians should be allowed to come to our neighborhoods and build things. Jim is right that this gas station fellow is not a christian at all. He said to drive down green bay road by hobby lobby and the greek temple was next door. Nowhere does it say christian anywhere on the building. Its the one with the blue dome on the roof. The sign says greek orthnodox not christian. So when he says he's christian he's lyring thru his teeth, he orthnodox not christian. I believe Jim when he says that is the reason why he has got a good business in west racine all those years because he follows the one true religion and listens and follows the word of god. If you don't like it you don't have to stay here and you sure don't have to come to west racine.

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  16. The consultant said that a gas station would be good on that site. It would make the area a "destinatio", her words, and draw people to West Racine.

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  17. I am going to say it again. The only one that can bring prosperity to West Racine is Jesus. By following his rules you will then be bless with good fortune. We could use a christian book store like the one in the newspapers lately. Please forgive that man it was 20 years go and he has been forgiven by Christ, it doesn't matter if the vermin at nacp don't want to forgive him because they are sinners and scum themselves. Christian owned business only in west racine.

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  18. That is very Christian of you to call people who disagree with you "vermin". I don't want a gas station at all, but I would support it more than a Christian bookstore due to comments like yours.

    Seems to me that your Bible says "Judge not lest ye be judged." Maybe you should stop judging others, stop spewing hate, and spend more time rereading that book. You don't understand it yet.

    Signed, an Atheist.

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  19. "I am anon 7:21", so you still are no one. Maybe leave your name, and prove to us that you are an eyeshot from the empty lot? You talk about the "charm of the old girl", I too have lived in West Racine for over 16 years, and that charm you talk about is gone. Empty and broken down buildings adorn the street scape, while ignorant people such as yourself fight every development possible, to keep your little "Farmers Market". You say you have a degree in Marketing, yet you can not see the value the gas pumps would add to the development, (a little thing called cash flow) I am sure that your boss is proud of your degree but it is obvious that that piece of paper you have, never taught you commonsense! If you truely have a marketing degree you would understand the concept of a "Business Plan", it takes all pieces of the plan to have a profitable and sustainable business. The only way your "Old Girl" will stay alive is if she follows the latest trends>

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  20. Jims People, Are you f@cking nuts? What on God's green earth was that all about? I don't know who your Alderman is but I can't believe anyone can get elected that is, that big of a whack job!

    West Racine wonders why they have a gravel pit, It's because they are all nuts!!!

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  21. There is an opportunity to do something really unique here. The Utility easement is going to be a problem to have one complete building front on Washington. What about the possibility of creating a bricked corridor that runs over the easement between two buildings. The Corridor could house the farmers market in the summers and have it spill out into the parking lot in back. Many cities are doing this with old alleys. For example: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2008/06/03/pearl_alley.ART_ART_06-03-08_C10_9OACOVJ.html?sid=101 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/kusine/192695534/

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  22. "Tear down the old buildings so we can build new ones!"
    "We can't build new buildings here we need green space!"
    "You people don't even think about a 55 unit housing project in my neighborhood!"
    "A gas station that will only bring in a bad element from 12th St!"

    The above statements reflect the mantality of the residents of West Racine and their elected officials!

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  23. Jim's People - that is the biggest amount of crap I have ever heard. There should be no difference if the person is Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Greek Orthodox - how can you call yourself a Christian if you are so predjudice.That's what I love about you radical, you do not live what you preach.

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  24. Tim the Shrubber10/15/2009 8:55 AM

    "I don't believe that we should do anything with a company that isn't christian owned."

    Okay then Mr. Theocracy. Perhaps we should open a bank at your church...that way you would not have to worry about banking with non-Christians. I mean, Jesus would love the idea of a bank in a church...he was all about moneychangers in the temple. {sarcasm}



    "I have spoken with my alderman many times and me and him agree that only god feering christians should be allowed to come to our neighborhoods and build things."

    1. I seriously doubt that.

    2. "feering"?

    3. Show some respect you heretic! Don't you know you are always supposed to capitalize God when writing about the Christian God?



    "The sign says greek orthnodox not christian. So when he says he's christian he's lyring thru his teeth, he orthnodox not christian."

    Dork. By that definition 99% of Christians are not Christian. I don't think my chruch says 'Christian' on it's sign either, so I guess I am just a heathen.

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  25. Jim's People10/15/2009 9:55 AM

    You will see that I am correct to tell you that you will burn in hell with your atheists, non believers and follwers of false profits. Mark my word, you will burn. We do not need any more of your types in west racine. Stay in your neighborhoods not mine.

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  26. Jim's People - you are a sick man -no Christian turns their back on another person. You are not a Christian you are a warped and sick person.Yiu need to except all Jews, Muslims,Gree Orthondox etc. If you don't - youll be the one that burns in hell.

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  27. Sorry for the bad typing - but I think you get my jist.

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  28. Hey retard, Greek Orthodox people are Christians. Some of the first Christians. You and your alderman need to go back to the trailer park and start to read the bible. If you really understood the bible, you would realize that the New Testament was written in Greek. Do you think Greeks wrote it because they were cheap labor hired by your ignorant alderman. I am so sick of these stupid people that claim to be Christians but constantly spew hateful words against other humans. Tell me where you and your alderman go to church so I can tell my children to stay away.

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  29. 10:17 - He's probably one of those "Born Again" wackos.

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  30. Tim the Shrubber10/15/2009 11:07 AM

    "You will see that I am correct to tell you that you will burn in hell with your atheists, non believers and follwers of false profits."

    False 'profits'? So, we are all going to hell for creative accounting?


    "We do not need any more of your types in west racine. Stay in your neighborhoods not mine."

    I think I could repeat those words back to you.

    Jim, please stop masquerading as a Christian. It is offensive to those of us that have actually read the bible, understood the message and believe.

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  31. Jim's People10/15/2009 11:55 AM

    I agree with my alderman on this point. Keep out foreigners and non christians! They are take oure job and ruining our families. When you start to not value christ in your life you are doomed. Keep that gas station monster project out of our neighboorhood. We don't need it here.

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  32. Jim's People = supposedy Christian = Racist. You should be ashamed of yourself. No real Christian share your beliefs. Out of curiosity Jimbo, what church do you attend?

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  33. TO: Jim's People:

    Stop trying to help Jim so much. He has enough trouble already. Associating with your hateful drivel doesn't help his cause.

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  34. Tim the Shrubber10/15/2009 1:51 PM

    Jim's People is starting to get so absurd that I think he/she is actually a plant to make Spangenberg look bad.

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  35. Tim the Schubber, I think your right. Noone can be that F'd up, can they?

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  36. I do not live in West Racine and thank God for that. The people of WR can't make a simple decision to allow advancement to take place in their neighborhood. I know the Marketing Buzz Saw Anonymous 7:21 will try to rebut my post with his never ending jibberish, but in the end he still will not have made a valid point. I can tell that those who support this project take it seriously, they seem to defend it with great vigor. On the same hand the oppisition, made up of people that must walk to work or work from home seeing as gasoline is the "Devils Wine", say the same stupid things over and over. My conclusion is that either the five bloggers that are against it went to the same internet college or are, simply put, the same person.

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  37. I am just a person in west racine that has devoted my life to following gods word. Plain and simpl. And yes my aldermen is a christian god feering man to. You words don't bother me, I can only be judged by the lord. Only true christians can enter paradise and be seated next to the lord himself.

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  38. Tim the Shrubber10/15/2009 7:19 PM

    "You words don't bother me,..."

    Perhaps, but your spelling annoys the crap out of me.


    "...I can only be judged by the lord."

    Is this a unique condition just for you? You seem to have no problem judging other people left and right. Or do you just see yourself as on par with the Lord (which again should be capitalized when writing about the Lord God)?

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  39. What a collection of totally worthless comments.

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  40. I think this is a non issue at this point. Hope he keeps his word on the gambling machines. Lets move on.

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  41. Jim's People10/15/2009 8:41 PM

    The lord protects his sheep.

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  42. Who is Kennedy Smith, of the Arlington, Va.-based Clue Group? Does his word mean anything? If it does, why? Paid consultants are like statistics, they say whatever you want them to.

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  43. Considering that Spangenberg & Co. paid for and ordered the study. I highly doubt that they made the recommendation based upon who paid for it. Is it possible that they stated that in the study because it is a good idea?

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  44. Keith W. Deschler10/15/2009 11:05 PM

    Hmm,how interesting Kristen Neimic has spent countless hours with Brian Occonel,and Jim Spangenberg blasting Mr.Tousis and his evil pumps (I have the emails to prove it)and the consultant group they hired recommends the very thing they are sooo against,ironic huh?
    Now do you think we all can move on and get this thing built?

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  45. Keith, you seem in tune with local politics. What is Mrs. Neimics roll in this project? Does she have a say to what can, or can not be built there? Am I wrong in believing that RCEDC is suppose to help developers create developments and job's for Racine County? So, If she, the Racine Department of Development, and an Alderman are spending "countless hours bashing Mr Tossis" How does this look to other such developers thinking of working in Racine and Racine County? I for one would be interested in seeing the emails that you have obtained.I believe you could shed some light on local political corruption that many people like myself believe takes place eveyday in Racine.

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  46. Anyone heard from Colt? Is he on vacation or sonething?

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  47. Jim's people like the rear end of his sheep.

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  48. Keith.

    We need to have a porch party soo we can all read the e-mails. Make duplicates.

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  49. Enough already, Tousis should be allowed to build his project. No one is coming up with anything better. Just stopping it for some Prince that will never come will leave us losers.

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  50. Anon 3:04, the consultant was hired by the people opposing this project, yet he says there's no problem with a gas station being put there. Therefore, I don't understand your statement.

    What gets me is that the city council falls all over themselves to rush other peoples projects through the system when THEY want it, but when 90%+ of the people in the neighborhood want Tom's project we are told by Wisneski, "There are procedures and rules to be followed and that takes time." What hypocrites. Enjoy your last terms Wisneski, McCarthy and Spangenberg.

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  51. Tim the Shrubber10/16/2009 1:54 PM

    "...we are told by Wisneski, 'There are procedures and rules to be followed and that takes time.'"

    1. So, the rules and the proceedures are not supposed to be followed in this case? If the Council made an exception you would be one of the first accusing them of cronyism and corruption. They really cannot win with you can they?

    2. So, even assuming 90%+ of the people in the neightborhood want the project, BFD? Does that mean process goes out the window? Is that good governmental policy?

    3. It seems to me that there is more of a disconnect between Tousis and the paperwork, than Tousis and the Alderman.

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  52. Tim the Shrubber, I think you are mistaken. I think what you meant to say was, there seems to be more of a disconnect between City Development and the LAW than Mr. Tossis and his paperwork. You could throw in a particular alderman into the pile with City Development. Reminds me of playing Monopoly with my brother when we were little kids. He always played the banker and stole the deeds to the best properties. He made the rules up as he went along, just like a city staffer and alderman that I know.

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  53. Tim the Shrubber- City Development creating new paperwork and new procedures that no one has ever had to meet or do.

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  54. Keith W. Deschler10/16/2009 9:04 PM

    Sorry it took so long to reply,as far as the emails go,it would appear the city attorneys office felt as though it was in the citys'best interest not to completely fulfill my request, I am currently awaiting legal advice before proceeding further.

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  55. Keith W. Deschler10/16/2009 9:26 PM

    Oh and by the way Deadeye, it's a deck not a porch...lol

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  56. Tim, this is not the first time you've not carefully read what was written and interpreted it properly. My point was that if the city council can cut corners and express the process for an ex-con to do business, why can't they do that for an overwhelming majority of the populous when the consensus is that high?

    Unless you subscribe to the scenario of it being OK for the RDA and city council expedite with all speed those projects which THEY like or belonging to their friends and families, but the rest of us can just take our time and jump through every hoop they decide to throw in front of us.

    I'm sorry, I won't accept the double standard.

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  57. Racine Resident == Rich Harding

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  58. In other words Jim and the good ole boys have something to hide. Like another plan maybe? Porch party sounded better. sorry. :-)

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  59. Anon 9:49, sorry, but you got that one wrong.

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  60. Speaking of Harding - hey Jody are you still doing personal business on CNH time? Are you still there or did they finally find out and give you your well deserved pink slip?

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  61. So, Keith Deschler, you lied when you said you have emails. Now you are hiding behind the old "City hall is not cooperating with me" story. Bottom line is that you have no such emails and you are just saying whatever you can to justify your lies. Either put up or shut up.

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  62. Brian is that you? Shouldn't you be doing background checks on developers or working your way through the TIF districts that are failing? Maybe you can try to ram through another residential project that the residents do not want instead of pushing development that will create jobs.

    Who pays your salary anyway?

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  63. Keith - show us the EMAILS!

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  64. People are blaming and accusing aldermen, City Development, RCEDC, RDA and whoever they can dream up, of being against the Tousis plan, but the Tousis camp didn't submit a proposal as of the RDA meeting on Oct 7th. RDA, including aldermen, voted to work with Tousis on his plan, but still accusations are out there. Now more accusations, by Deschler, about "emails in hand" on how city groups are spending hours blasting Tousis. But surprise, no emails as proof. Will everyone, on both sides, stop the lies and just let the process happen! If Tousis turned in his offer to purchase on the 9th as he promised, then the City and RDA have to respond. Stop the speculation and accusations and lets just post facts. Was the offer submitted? What is the next step? That is the news everyone wants to read about, not all this babble about who may have said what or who knows someone who knows someone who knows how some city offical feels about the plan.

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  65. Anon 1:45- The proposal was submitted to the city on Sept 11, and was attached to the agenda that the Racine Post linked to on a previous article. The proposal is considered the "offer to purchase". A separate bit of paperwork is not required and until this proposal no one has ever been required to submit one.

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  66. To anon 3:39: The Sept 11 paperwork that Tousis submitted was a proposal for the project for the property in West Racine. But a developer cannot just submit a proposal for land he/she doesn't own. A developer still has to also make an offer to purchase the land if he/she doesn't own it, which, at the Oct 7 meeting, Tousis real estate agent admitted she knew about and hadn't done yet. The City and RDA are not making Tousis do more than anyone else. Tousis is just doing less than other developers. Did Tousis submit an offer to purchase yet? If yes, how much did he offer to pay for the land?

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  67. To Anon 9:28, You don't know what you are talking about. That is the same reason that the city is having issues in other areas also. There are decisions being made, that affect city dealings, by people that aren't qualified to make those decisions. When does it sound appropriate to allow a furniture salesman to make real estate based decisions? How about never?

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  68. Anon 9:28- You obviously have never worked on a development before, and granite does not count. The proposal is the "offer to purchase", no other developer has ever had to submit one. If you were at the meeting, you would have heard her say that they did not submit one because "that is not how it is done." Please show me one other person who has been required to submit the same paperwork that this project has.

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