December 2, 2009

West Racine grocery store developer seeks forgivable mortage in exchange for new jobs

UPDATE 2: There's a need to clarify our original post on Tousis's proposal. He is not requesting money from the city. He's asking for a forgivable mortgage in exchange for providing at least 24 jobs. It wouldn't cost the city any money. Also, it's probably worth noting the development with help the city's TID pay back the loan it took out to demolish buildings on the site. Without development, the site will get expensive for the city. (That's why, for example, it's not practical to turn that site into a park. The city needs tax base.)


UPDATE:
The RDA voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to defer action on the proposed West Racine grocery store to a special meeting within the next few weeks.

The vote came with some sense of urgency. "We have to bring this to some kind of conclusion," RDA Chairman John Crimmings said at the meeting.

City Development Director Brian O'Connell said city staff received Tom Tousis's proposal too late to review. Zak Williams, a spokesman for Tousis, said the proposal was late because O'Connell and city staff missed their deadline by over a week.

Regardless, it looks like there could be some kind of vote on the proposal within the next two weeks.


ORIGINAL: The developer who wants to build a grocery store and restaurant with gas pumps in West Racine is seeking free land in exchange for the creation of 24 jobs for five years.

Tom Tousis, who will appear before the Redevelopment Authority this afternoon, submitted an offer to buy land at Washington Avenue and West Boulevard for $250,000 on a five-year forgivable mortgage.

Under the proposal, one-fifth of the mortgage would be returned each year if Tousis creates and maintains 12 full-time jobs and 12 part-time jobs. All of the workers would live in the city of Racine, according to the proposal.

The RDA is scheduled to take up the proposal at its meeting this afternoon.

The proposal was based on a similar agreement the RDA reached with Treasures Media to build a new warehouse in the Southside Industrial Park, according to Zak Williams, a spokesman for Tousis.

Williams added the "24 jobs" number is not indicative of the total number of jobs that will be created by the development. The final number will be higher, he said.

82 comments:

  1. "Under the proposal, one-fifth of the mortgage would be returned if Tousis creates and maintains 12 full-time jobs and 12 part-time jobs. All of the workers would live in the city of Racine, according to the proposal."


    NO! If taxbase was the issue how does this deal help the City? NO!
    Please Tom go to someplace that wants you try Rockford

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  2. Under the proposal, one-fifth of the mortgage would be returned

    Is that one-fifth or one-fifth per year?

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  3. We don't need these bottom feeders, who hold jobs as hostage!

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  4. Can I have a forgivable home mortgage if I promise to hire a neighborhood kid to cut the grass each week? It will help the economy!

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  5. Tom has shown his true colors time for him to go. No harm asking look what the former Nazi got. However just say NO!

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  6. Sorry, that's one-fifth per year ($50,000 per year) for each of the five years. If Tousis meets the job requirements, he'll get the entire $250K back.

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  7. That's if the deal is approved.

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  8. What are the numbers? Is Racine ahead with the 12 Full time/12 Part time/5 year proposal?

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  9. This project had 100% of my support before this. If pursuing this project costs the taxpayers of this city even one red cent it will completely lose all of my support. Very disappointing Tom. It looks like you're no better than the American Tire Recyclers. I suppose the next screw you put to the taxpayers will be to ask the city council to supplement the employee's wages.

    Get back on track and do this thing right, or I promise you I will fight it tooth and nail.

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  10. I am sure the good old boys got there's ($$$) now it time to get ours (the Shaft)
    Dickert has got to go

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  11. How is this Dickert's fault? Did he write the proposal and forge Tom's name? Much has been said about the city's actions on this proposal? Is anyone ready to say the check and balance process the city used worked?

    And Zac, in business you play the hand you are dealt. Regardless of whether the city responded late or not, you get your proposal in early so it can be reviewed. Stop blaming them ~ that isn't helping your fading case.

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  12. I don't generally support subsidizing businesses, but with distribution and manufacturing facilities I at least understand the rationale.

    Manufacturing and distribution facilities could be located anywhere, so some demand a bribe to locate in a given area. A restaurant, grocery and gas station that served West Racine would have to be located in West Racine. If there is the demand, someone else will build it.

    Would we subsidize every "nice" restaurant, grocery or gas station in the city?

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  13. Tom's team includes a real estate agent who is having great trouble getting things done correctly and on time (despite the fact she has will benefit from the sale and her adjacent properties will go up in value if this is built) and a PR guy who continues to blame the people who can help them. I hope those two aren't two of the min 24 employees needed for this developmental welfare.

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  14. I thought that if the grocery store is built, the property values in West Racine would plummet. Which one is it, up or down?

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  15. I think people are misunderstanding what the cost to the city is for this. The cost is ZERO. If the project meets the requirements then the cost of the land is ZERO.

    No city money will go towards this project.

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  16. Watching the Bagman12/02/2009 8:27 PM

    Anon 6:39-

    Monte your back! Did your boy Dickert give you the night off?

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  17. Oh, and the city gains a large property tax base and gets this plot of land off of the taxpayer's dime.

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  18. 6:39 Dickerts to blame for one reason and one reason only, because he is an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  19. Now this guy wants free land WTF! On the other hand it seems that every business to talk nice to Dickerthead ends up with free land why not this guy? Hell I may call his office, send flowers to his Mansecratary, and ask for land!

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  20. 9:09, It may require more than flowers to get what you want.

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  21. Dickert I think has a hand in every pie. After all that's why he's Mayor
    The ten year plan = how to make money off the city. Just like they do in Chicago after all he is one call away from Obama.
    Come on Trolls, we need the tax base so bad lets give away the land. How else can we get more jobs here if do not screw the voters!

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  22. If "Gus' creamy sauce" gets a free ride or a good-ol'-boy loan in this town, I'll demolish my historic building and head out. In 10 years I have not been able to get a loan to expand my business (hire people..) even from Jess Levin. Well, I'm still here. He gave (GOB) loans to out-of-towners who skipped town and left me holding the bag. I really really really do not want a tacky, smelly gas station with an array of unhealthy fast food offerings at that corner anyway, and I sure as hell do not want him to be GIVEN the land. As you can tell, I'm a little grumpy. We can make better jobs than that.

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  23. If this guy has enough for a 5 million project, why is he trying to nickel and dime the City out of 50K.

    He's looking for an excuse so he can play the victim when it falls though.

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  24. As long as Racine keeps raising taxes and refusing to give businesses tax breaks to operate in Racine, local businesses will fail (and leave) and new businesses won't move in. Racine will look more and more like Detroit every year. Keep raising tax rates and that's all we'll be left with: high tax rates. But there will be no tax revenue because everyone will have left. 100% of nothing equals nothing.

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  25. Anon 8:27:

    When I blog you think it is Monte. You've been wrong quite a few times.

    Not sure who this Monte guy is, but if he thinks like me, I'd like to meet him. He must be wicked smart.

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  26. 9:35

    Monte is a great guy. I think he is wrong on backing Dickert but we all can make political mistakes.
    However Dickert has got to go. I am tired of all the backroom deals.

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  27. Maybe if Tom worked with Kristin Niemiec the corridor specialist over at RCEDC this would move forward.

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  28. Kristin N. is good for nothing. Just take a look at what she has moved forward - nothing. Maybe she can get her boyfriend to fix up his theatre, it is looking rather shabby lately. Oops, I think I realized that I possibly stumbled upon a conflict of interest. Can a person that hands out government money have a "relationship" with the head of a BID. Especially when his or hers property is some of the least valuable on the block?

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  29. Note the second update on this story. Just want to make clear Tousis isn't asking for money. He's seeking mortgage forgiveness if he creates a certain number of jobs. It's similar to the Treasures deal, though they're asking for less money.

    It's also not a done deal. The city can counter.

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  30. LIFE&LIBERTY12/02/2009 11:01 PM

    CHECK THIS OUT.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-joe-kexel-political-talk-show/2009/12/02/the-joe-kexel-political-talk-show--v1-n9

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

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

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  33. God I love you bloggers! You people are so funny. You do nothing and have nothing of value to say. Yet you entertain the hell out of me. Good job. God bless you, because of your pathetic lives you make mine seem that much more important. I seriously love your negative energy! I am somebody compared to you!
    Thank you, really thank you. SMILES!!!!

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

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  35. All hail Spangenberg!

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  36. Interesting developments-what game is Tousis playing? Why did his proposal come in at noon on the day the RDA was to meet? So he can play the victim again. The question that needs to be asked is simply-can Tousis be trusted? Look at what he did on Douglas Ave. He promised to open a little Greek Cafe with Greek speciality dishes like Kabobs. He needed a liquor license to offer speciality greek drinks to his pa's friends. And what did we get? Another Tinos. The council needs to watch this development very closely and spell everything out. And yes it will cost the city. The city dumped millions into redeveloping that parcel. How much tax revenue will it generate? How much will those full time jobs pay? Does the city have to give all its land for free? Perhaps Ogelsby will want the State Street property for free. Heck, I want the library for free. I'll develop it into a nice condo.

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  37. "Tousis isn't asking for money. He's seeking mortgage forgiveness if he creates a certain number of jobs."

    So who would pay the "forgiveness"? If it is the taxpayers, then yes, Tousis is asking for money.

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  38. Kristin Niemiec I think would be in lots of the Emails the POst wanted to read from Becker. IMHO the POst dropped that effort for the truth would be damaging to Niemiec and O'Connell

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  39. If anyone comes up with an alternative (and the money)for the creation of jobs or the developing of property the city owns to get it off my back and on to the tax rolls PLEASE SPEAK UP. Otherwise shut up. All you naysayers have to offer is crap. Lets vote yes and get the money flowing or vote no and enjoy your empty lot. Oh wait that's right the farmers market is there with all their wholesome foods. ALL WINTER. As far as the comments about unhealthy fast foods I think we need to protest the two bakeries a block away and close them down to "save the children". Oh I know what would make you fools happy, A Planned Parenthood clinic with free abortions payed for in Obamascare.

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  40. OH wait, Obamascare is tax dollars too.

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  41. Life and Liberty12/03/2009 8:28 AM

    Yes, you are correct! He is not entitled to anything that recent developments from people with lesser track records are. He shouldn't be allowed to build on city land because he is from the city of Racine and has paid his taxes for many years. He shouldn't be able to build the restaurant that he wants because it might be able to produce an actual meal. When will you people get it? Government has no role in dictating commands to business. When the city loses money, it's budget is short. When a business looses money, it's bankrupt. So do you really want people who are responsible for causing things to go bankrupt running private enterprise? I don't, because if they fail there will be nobody left to pay into my medicare. Stay out of business, and do your jobs. Make sure the water is on and the streets are clean, that's is government's roll. You will understand what I mean when the government runs out of paper to print money on.

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  42. We should not have to come up with ideas. We WERE NOT THE ONES ELECTED! But if all they can come up with is a slick willy to exchange a few jobs for free land, give me a break. Clean house and get a mayour and city leaders with realy business experience and not ones that even think of bargaining with a little business the size of a lemonaide stand. We need REAL businesses that will create REAL family supporting jobs.

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  43. We should not have to come up with ideas. We WERE NOT THE ONES ELECTED! But if all they can come up with is a slick willy to exchange a few jobs for free land, give me a break. Clean house and get a mayour and city leaders with realy business experience and not ones that even think of bargaining with a little business the size of a lemonaide stand. We need REAL businesses that will create REAL family supporting jobs.

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  44. Mmmmmm....I can smell the aroma of petroleum as it mixes in with that plate of eggs and hashbrowns I just ordered next door.

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  45. don't forget the smell from the compost bins. It'll be the only place in town where that cocktail is served.

    Gives new meaning to the garbage plate!

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  46. "(That's why, for example, it's not practical to turn that site into a park. The city needs tax base.)"

    If thats going to be the party line just think of the number of parks we have! WE should turn them all into Gas Stations or low income housing.
    We should because the city needs the money have a wheel tax. Because the City needs the money have our own income tax we should demand the Dicket get a higher sales tax that the City could tap into. After all the City of Racine is what is number one not the folks living here!
    SHUT UP AND PAY YOUR TAXES!!! THE CITY KNOW BEST!

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  47. free abortions not police is what reduced crime.
    The Bakeries cook good quilty food. The Farmer's Market help many get local food.
    INHO all Tom wants are places that he can put slot machines until Tom put in writing he or others will not put them in he will.
    Now he wants to have a forgivable mortgage how nice I bet O'Connell just cant wait to make that happen.

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  48. mmmmmm Smell that quilty food....

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  49. Anon 7:47: You write: "IMHO the Post dropped that effort for the truth (because it) would be damaging to Niemiec and O'Connell."


    Back up your opinion with the $10,000 demanded by the city for the emails, and we'll all know the truth.

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  50. Sadly, one alderman could have requested the records and gotten this done. Nobody wants to step forward and see what's really in Becker's email past. Let's see what comes out at trial ... could be interesting.

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  51. Probably because there are things in the aldermen's emails that they don't want exposed either. It's called covering your brother's ass or this case sister's ass.

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  52. It looks like Tousis is trying to finagle the city to cancel this idea;free land; and agree to the rest of the project. More power to him. Build the dam thing.

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  53. Thinking the tide is turned. Tom made I believe a huge mistake in demanding his sweetheart deal. Do the math on the jobs do they look like Union jobs.....

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  54. Tom,

    Please look elsewhere to put your new business, where you will be wanted.

    Signed,

    Mt Pleasant and Sturtevant

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  55. What is wrong with getting a good price for the land that has been vacant for so long, is not generating any taxes and costing the taxpayers money every year, is in a TIF district that is almost upside, has had 3 failed projects proposed, and is difficult to build on? He is not asking for any subsidy from the city. He is not asking for any cash from the city.

    It is costing the city nothing. It is going to make the land productive and produce taxes. The neighborhood wants it. This is a better deal for the taxpayers than the other two projects the city has rammed through.

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  56. Tom

    Please go Mt Pleasant and Sturtevant are calling.

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  57. Mt Pleasant or Sturtevant would fall all over themselves for this project to be built there. He would get free land, tons of money, building assistance. Those communities know how to spur development. Look at what they have done vs what Racine has done.

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  58. See Tom, 1:35 is begging you! Please Tom go spread your wings and fly!

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  59. Milwaukee Observer12/03/2009 3:43 PM

    1:49 - Why so angry? Mr. Tousis' proposal sounds reasonable and responsible. If you have a legitimate/substantive reason to oppose the project. It would be interesting to hear.

    Right now, the attacks make it sound like you have a personal problem with Mr. Tousis and whatever project was proposed would be a problem.

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  60. This is why the city should not own land or properties.The city of racine is not a reality business.I think I would love the money they have LOST on there (our) investments!There should be a aduit done on this.

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  61. Mr. Milwaukee,
    Can't you tell 1:49 is a know it all moron that has all the answers. He/she probably still lives at home with mom and dad or has a daddy with a handful of rental properties thus making him/her an realestate expert! How close am I Steve?

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  62. Free Market Shunned12/03/2009 9:12 PM

    What is the value of the land? Where did $250K come from? Tousis should pay the FMV of the land. That is the problem with city owned land? How much is it worth? It is the free market that determines that most fairly. Had this land stayed privately owned we wouldn't have this problem, or, most likely, the vacancy.

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  63. Free for the low income 55 unit that Spangenberg negociated. Free for local people then to. I am tired of people acting like West Racine is the city of Chicago. All of the stores ar e empty how much is that corner valued now. It is not 1955 anymore. Nothing left but old guys like me and old buildings. Let the kid build, half of us will not be here when he gets it done anyway. Keep it up kid the city is the one that closed most of the doors here anyway.

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  64. What in makes him a "DEVELOPER", I mean that sound so important.

    If I built a laundy mat on the same land, would I be considered a "DEVELOPER" as well?

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  65. sPeLLing IS Hard fOur u hUH

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  66. 8:52 said: "abortions lower crime" Did you read what you just typed? There are a lot of people like me who think abortion IS crime. It's called murder. Are you a bigot? The highest ratio of abortions are done on blacks. Of course you probably think this is a good thing in that it keeps down the entitlement costs.
    "Bakeries cook good quality food"?
    Again you made anyone who read this a little more stupid. Cakes, cookies and donuts are good quality food? What dietary school did you go to? As far as the farmers market goes it can set up elsewhere and if they can't then they are to stupid to sell vegetables. Besides two days a week and only 3 and a half months a year doesn't justify their existence.

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  67. I have seen the same people selling vegetables they purchased at piggly wiggly and selling them on the corner for a premium price. The guy that was set up at the "Health Care" rally in Racine this summer still had the stickers on the vegetables from Pick & Save.
    These so called farmers aren't fooling anyone. Their frauds.

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  68. 6:54

    Like it or not abortion has been linked to the reduction in crime, of course some still feel that forcing a women to raise an unwanted child is the right punishment for having sex.

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  69. 6:59- I shopped at the Farmer's Market with one or two reputable farmers. How did I know?

    One is a farmer I grew up next to for the first 20 years of my life.
    I know them, they know me, heck, I've probably played on the land that they used to grow the veggies.

    The other is a farm that is easily accessible and I have stopped at their home location and purchase vegetables I could see growing about 10 feet from where I stood.

    To my knowledge, there is at least one 'dealer' at the market who jus t sells produce acquired from places like California and so on.
    I showed my displeasure of that practice by not using their services.

    ----------

    More and more Mr. Tousis is taking what he can from the City and possibly the State and not giving anything back except promises that aren't written down. Empty words from him via his 'spokesman' and various anonymous hate-based campaigns against anyone who stands in his way.

    First, he 'promises' no gambling machines and space for the farmer's market.
    It's been mentioned elsewhere before that the Farmers don't trust him to provide that space.

    Second, he asks for this forgivable loan, and I would not be surprised if he's asked the Feds for the 100k tax deduction for an E-85 pump as well.

    He asks and asks for things, but outside of possible empty promises, never gives back anything in return, or even works to change his plans to address the complaints.

    He is setting himself up for failure and quite possibly will make the City out to be the 'bad guys' because they stood their ground and refused to be intimidated by a bully, which is the attitude that he has made me believe he has.

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  70. Anti Weasley, were thos farms located near area 51 by any chance?

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  71. This sounds like a bad low budget sci-fi flick. It can be called Anti-wesley invades West Racine along with his Overlord the Spangenberger. And the reason that they don't want the gravel lot developed is they need the corner empty in order to land their spacecraft for their weekly trips to planet Herzogland. It does sound like an idea for a bad sci-fi flick, but then again some weirdos are into that. Merry Christmas weirdos.

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  72. Antiweasly- He could promise to put in a money factory for the neighborhood and you would complain about the smell of the ink.

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  73. He could promise.. about a trip to the 4th circle?

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  74. The forgivable mortgage does seem problematic, but the taxes the city will receive for decades will make up for it. It would be simpler without the reverse mortgage, but it only works out if he can make the business succeed and the extra cash will improve the odds. 80% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years, so in a way this actually increases the odds Tom holds out long enough to be a winner.

    I am not a big fan of government hand-outs to business, but this store will be very nice to for the neighborhood. I think Tom miscalculated with this, but with high taxes, businesses need to find a way to make money.

    Racine needs some serious work and looking for perfect business will only lead to a ghost town. Racine's population is already falling.

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  75. Another point is the city puts itself into this position by buying up every parcel it can. The city becomes a developer. That is not the role I feel any city should be in.

    The buyer understands that the property is completely off the tax roles for the city owns it. That puts the potential buyer into a strong position and they can negotiate a better deal.

    The main goal the city wants from owning property is to get the power to micro-manage any business that wants to move into the city. Unfortunately, it comes at a very steep price. They have to condemn land, clean it up, maybe add a TIF and they end up with vacant property that doesn't provide a dime to the city in taxes until they can convince some sucker to buy it.

    The alternative is simple, let the land stay in private hands and take in the small amount of taxes, a little is better than nothing. Then, create a frugal, restrained government that can offer low taxes and minimal nit-picking. Businesses will be fighting for the chance to be in Racine.

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  76. Antiweasley, you must be one of those from the fourth dimension.

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  77. All because we elected to office folks like Gary Becker who did what he wanted and counsel members who act like lap dogs.
    Back when Becker had that block torn down we should have known what was coming next.
    I wish folks like Greg Helding and O'Connell sick to playing Sim City and ruin things in a game then destroy Racine

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  78. Antiwesley I grew up on a Farm and a person with a box truck and a garden is not a Farmer!

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  79. Antiwesley grew up on the moon.

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  80. I'd like to seen the pending lawsuits with Contractors and Designer that built the Douglas location be settled before this one move forward.

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  81. I'd like to see the lawsuilts with the Contractors and Designer that built the Douglas location be settled before this moved forward.

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  82. Boy, if you want to see lawsuits, look up the recycled tire king that is taking over the site and cashing in the city's check book. My printer ran out of paper.

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