December 10, 2009

Special meeting set on proposed West Racine grocery store

The city's Redevelopment Authority is scheduled to meet in closed session Monday at 4 p.m. to discuss the proposed grocery store with gas pumps in West Racine.

Tom Tousis's proposal for the corner of Washington Avenue and West Boulevard is the only item on the agenda for the RDA's special meeting. Tousis wants to build a $5 million grocery store and restaurant with gas pumps on the vacant site.

Tousis needs the RDA to agree to sell him the land to move forward with the city approval process. He's run into resistance from a group led by Alderman Jim Spangenberg, who opposes the gas pumps.

The meeting's first vote likely will be an effort by RDA members Pete Karas and Scott Terry to hold discussion of Tousis' option in open session. Two meetings ago the RDA voted 4-3 against discussing the proposal in open session. Robert Ledvina joined Karas and Terry in trying to prevent the closed session. John Crimmings, Cory Mason, David Lange and Spangenberg voted to close the meeting to the public.

It's unclear if the RDA will take action on Tousis' proposal Monday. If they vote to approve Tousis's option, the City Council will not consider the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday. Instead, it will be put off until the council's Jan. 5 meeting.

Spangenberg laid out his objections to Tousis's project (including objecting to Tousis supporters' tactics) in a commentary that appeared in The Journal Times on Thursday. In the commentary, Spangenberg said he supports a grocery store and sitdown restaurant (with a liquor license to serve beer and wine) and even suggested some wiggle room on the gas station. Instead of outright rejecting the idea, Spangenberg suggested he could support a well-designed gas station on the site, writing:
The gas station would need to be a new urban design. This means the gas station does not look like a gas station but fits in with the business district and neighborhood.
Many of Spangenberg's concerns, such as too much traffic at the intersection, are issues that would be discussed by the city's Plan Commission and Access Corridor Development Review committee. But Tousis's proposal has not reached that stage because the RDA needs to decide if it wants to sell the land for the project.

Tousis offered to buy the land for $250,000 with a forgivable mortgage of $50,000 for five years if he creates at least 24 jobs. It's unclear if the city will make a counter-offer or simply accept or reject the proposal. Monday's meeting should answer that question.

52 comments:

  1. Obviously, Jim can't hear his neighbors when we tell him to support this project. He will be able to tell however, when the next election comes around. Jim, you are not the saint you proclaim to be.

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  2. Jim is the best!

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  5. If I were Tousis and I just saw what Dickert gave American Tire then I would ask Racine to pony up a little more for this deal.

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  6. If I were Tousis I would pack my sh-it up and open in kenosha....this city and Dickert have screwed this guy over, and yes I would ask Racine to pony up as well, in light of the Amaerican Tire fiasco.

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  7. Oh no the gas station topic.

    LETS ALL GO CRAZY !!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. I have a hard time thinking that Spangenberg is anything less than a whinning, self rightous fool, based on the comments he made in the JT. Face it sir your days are numbered along with about 9 other council members up for reelection next year. Power to the voting class of Racine elect, conquer, and replace the "Good Old Boys" and Girl!!!

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  9. Jim Spangenberg, just please give up. You will never be the Mayor of Racine and you forget that you are paid to listen to your constituents. You are not the alderman in that district, so don't act like it.

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  10. Spangenberg will do anything and everything to block any idea that is not his on that property. Here is a hint, you do not own the property. We, the taxpayers, do.

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  11. I see the old B.P. has opened again about 7 blocks away. Think the area can not support two gas stations. Poor Tom maybe Mt Pleasant be a better place.

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  12. Very unusual for a committee member to voice such strong opposition prior to public vote. If Spangenberg was a watchdog for taxpayer money then I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but he has been front and center in giving sweet deals to the two Dickert Debacles.

    He must be benefiting some how.

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  13. What was the problem Jim? Tom didn't like the price you quote for carte blanche voting like you have done for Treasures & American Tire Burning & Pollution Co.

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  14. I'd like to see Tom clear up the pending lawsuit from the construction of the Douglas location before he tries to build something else.

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  15. Anon 10:49, you must have Tom mistaken for the tire recycling guy that you voted for. He's the guy with lengthy court history. I do understand that sometimes in business there are disputes that are hard to resolve and that is why there are courts & judges, but the recycling operation company owner seems to have made a living from litigation.

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  16. Anon 11:20, it's Tousis. He owes money to a Designer, Concerte and Painting Company's and couple others. Looks like he doesn't like paying his bills, no wonder he's asking for free land.

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  17. First off, stop the bickering. Second, I think it is a good project for West Racine as do my neighbors. Third, he is asking for a property that the city has not been able to do anything with. Fourth, I am sure he will need people to work there and that is definately a good thing. Fifth, he will be paying taxes that will hopefully lower ours. Sixth, I don't think that this project is any less beneficial to the city as the other most recent dealings. So, why should he not benefit also? Let him build and hold him responsible as you should all developers.

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  18. I employ a few union guys as I fix up my home can I get the City to pay my mortgage too please?

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  19. jim's people12/12/2009 8:16 AM

    Jim will not let non belivers of christ build his monster here in west Racine so he can pay his suicid bombers in his home countrys. We don't need those people in our west Racine. Jim Spangenberg is a good chrstain and will fight this monster to keep our christain neighborhood clean of this imoral people. They have no place here and we do not want them ether. Aldermen Spangenberg is a devote christain and he will have the help of the lord on his side. You will see that he will run away scared.

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  20. "and they're people of the land...you know...morons."
    SDJ

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  22. "John Crimmings, Cory Mason, David Lange and Spangenberg voted to close the meeting to the public."

    Our money, our city, but they meet in secret. Oink, oink!

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  23. Jims people: I think I know what type of Christian you are. You the ignorant, uneducated and self righteous type that agree with Spangenberg's spewed vile. As an alderman, he has no business injecting his religious views into politics and if he doesn't like this man because of his religion, then Jim has no business being an elected official. I too am a Christian, but that doesn't mean that I am better than someone else. This old 50's way of thinking has to stop interfering in politics, it makes everything unnecessarily messy.

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  24. Jim's People12/12/2009 10:25 AM

    orbcorbes, you are just as the muslum guy and it is your types that are bringing down our city. You can say what you want but there is truth to what I say.

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  25. I believe it is the few racist pigs we have here that bring this city down. Please leave.
    SDJ

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  26. Outside Looking In12/12/2009 12:16 PM

    These blogs are ludicrous:
    1. The RDA has held meetings in closed session as to not embarrass Tousis who has submitted incomplete proposals.

    2. Tousis wont build in Mt. Pleasant or Kenosha because they wont give him anything to build there-gas stations are a dime a dozen.

    3. Jim Spangenberg raised some valid points in the JT. It was well written and he seems to have the best interest of his district at heart.

    4. The christian Jim is Kaplan, not Spangenberg.

    5. If you bloggers are going to get rid of all these alderman, you better hurry up-you need to get on the ballot first and no one has shown any interest. But the again, you guys think that you are more effective blogging annonymously sitting in front of your computer in your underwear.

    6. Why should the city give away this land for a gas station?

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  27. Outside/Spangenburg

    1. Incorrect. Jim if the proposal was incomplete you would have voted for it like you voted for the incomplete proposals for the bookstore and tire shredder. Close session to create an excuse.

    2. I am sure Kenosha or Mt Pleasant want a grocery store and restaurant.

    3. The entire Spangenberg letter was incorrect or wanted something already in proposal (grocery/restaurant/apropriate architecture).

    4. It is obviously a troll Spangenberg sent out.

    5. Me so angry! Red Rage Spangenberg!

    6. There have been three failed developments on that land. It will produce property taxes and good jobs. Spangenberg has voted for more giveaways for less benefit for the taxpayers.

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  28. Outside/Spangenburg

    1. Incorrect. Jim if the proposal was incomplete you would have voted for it like you voted for the incomplete proposals for the bookstore and tire shredder. Close session to create an excuse.

    2. I am sure Kenosha or Mt Pleasant want a grocery store and restaurant.

    3. The entire Spangenberg letter was incorrect or wanted something already in proposal (grocery/restaurant/apropriate architecture).

    4. It is obviously a troll Spangenberg sent out.

    5. Me so angry! Red Rage Spangenberg!

    6. There have been three failed developments on that land. It will produce property taxes and good jobs. Spangenberg has voted for more giveaways for less benefit for the taxpayers.

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  29. Spangenberg is nothing but a bully. Watch him attack old ladies if he doesn't get his way.

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  30. I forgot to mention that he is a big fat liar too and he and his "Christian Radical" buddy from the neighborhood should be crated up and shipped to Shanghai.

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  31. "2. I am sure Kenosha or Mt Pleasant want a grocery store and restaurant."

    I am too: Please go and find out. Maybe they will pay you to set up a business too

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  32. Why does Spangenberg think he can get away with treating people this way. An elected offical should know better. All that anger is not good for his heart and is going to send him to an early grave.

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  33. I am surprised that the developer is still trying to get this done. It seems that it would be easier for him to go where the local government wants new development.

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  34. 6:36

    Maybe no one wants this. Paying Tom to build this gas station? Now within 1 mile there are 4 stations.
    Tom needs to get the clue and move along

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  35. MLK's People12/12/2009 9:35 PM

    Jim's people and his leader are obviously wackos. It now makes sense why Spangenberg supported the Nazi bookstore project while lambasting Brent Oglesby publicly and then to provide roadblock after roadblock for the West Racine project. Even in the year 2009 racism and prejudice exist and some of offenders consider themselves Christians.

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  36. Any business that brings a 5 million dollar project to West Racine of private sector money, 24 sustaining new jobs and the convenience of a grocery store and restaurant a whole lot more "stimulus" than we are getting out of D.C.. Oh, I forgot, as Obama says, "Only the government can pull us out of this recession." Now I understand you Jim. Wave by by to your job next year.

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  37. I feel that there is more to this than meets the eye. Why is it that this young man always seems to be missing something on his paperwork? Is it left out by design or is he not being given all the information necessary to properly complete the paperwork? We keep wasting people's time, by constantly defering this action! I say let it advance to the next committee! As I have heard one Aldermen say this will sink and swim on it's merit, seems to me if they have the support from the neighbors, this project is a slam dunk. That brings up one more question. Many have stated that Jim Spangenberg has made promises to Wayne Clingmen and other tree huggers that he would never allow a Gas station to be built in West Racine. Is there a possibility that Jim has been trying to slow down the momentum so as to try to derail the support that the developer has gained? Think about it people, during these times of ecomomic despair a 5 million dollar project, not paid for by the government using tax dollars is unheard of! I must say that I do not live in West Racine but can not see how this would hurt the area, but would improve the area for the better.

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  38. Take a second look at the postings by "jim's people said..." and ask yourself if you would want someone bordering on illiterate representing you in these posts. There are numerous, and totally inexcusable, spelling and gramatical errors in the first six line post and the following two line post. At least in the second one he figured out that the proper name of "Jim's People" should be capitalized.

    Let me help you out so that in the future when you are representing Mr. Loser (I mean Mr. Sangenberg) you don't make him look as foolish and ignorant as you do. First, "Jim's People" should ALWAYS be capitalized, second "non believers" should be hyphenated (i.e. non-believers), third, Christ is ALWAYS capitalized, fourth, the "west" in West Racine is ALWAYS capitalized, fifth, "suicid" is spelled with an "e" on the end (i.e. suicide), sixth, the word "chrstain" is spelled Christian and ALWAYS capitalized, seventh, "imoral" is spelled immoral, eighth, "ether" is spelled either, ninth, the word "lord," when used in context to God is ALWAYS capitalized, tenth "orbcorbes" is spelled and capitalized as OrbsCorbs, and finally, eleventh, "muslum" should be spelled Muslim and properly and capitalized. We won't even go into the grammar aspect of your posts. I am sure that with your limited RUSD education that you wouldn't even understand what I'm talking about.

    Jim, is this a typical example of those that support you? Based on your actions, voting record and what I've heard you say publicly, I would tend to think so. I do agree that there are some businesses that should not be welcomed in West Racine; particularly Citgo gas stations. I have boycotted Citgo ever scince I read how its owner, Hugo Chavez (the president of Venezuela) said publicly that he hated America and would do all he could to bring us to our knees. Every penny spent at a Citgo station is a penny given to Chavez to fulfill his promise. But, that doesn't mean I hate all Venezuelans. This bigoted jerk that represents you here is as racist, ignorant and offensive as your voting record. Enjoy your last term in office.

    I do still believe that this project should go through, but not at the cost of giving the property away. That is a big loss to the taxpayers of Racine. Tom should pay a fair market price for that property so that the city can recover all, or some, of the money it has cost so far. If Tom wants tax breaks over the next five years for building the project, I have no problem with that. But we have a lot of out-of-pocket expense over this property and the taxpayers of Racine, I believe, have a right to recover that cost by sale of the property. If the city grants Tom's current request to forgive $50,000.00 per year over the next five years ($250,000.00 total for you RUSD products), then I will boycott that business as well.

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  39. And yes, I know my spelling and grammar aren't perfect. But, at least it's in the ball park.

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  40. Graham- That property is in a TIF district and the costs associated with that TIF are paid back through the property taxes generated by the project not the sale of the property. Any money paid for that property would be sent to the general fund, not to pay the cost of the original purchase of the property or knocking down the buildings. I now it sounds like semantics, but the TIF is a separate entity and that is how they are set up.

    Several people (well really one and we know who that is, the angry alderman and his wacky religious sidekick) have claimed the "paperwork" was incomplete without offering any proof. Please show the evidence or stop stating incorrect information.

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  41. I heard a restaurant in the general area was looking into the property a year ago wuth a developer. The restaurant would be set back about 20 feet from washington ave and west blvd. and on the corner of grove and washington would be a tenutas type grocery store. All parking in the back like other stores in the area. and it would have been a two story building with offives located on the second floor. Cream city brick with a loft style interior. The developer went under and the idea never made it any further. I bet if the city gives the land and offers financing that would be a better idea than a gas station.

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  42. I dont think people mind the convenience store and resturant, it's the gas station that most people are opposed to.

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  43. Grocery store and restaurant. There will be fuel pumps across the parking lot.

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  44. Maybe if a certain area in the store was dedicated to the distribution of white supremacist pamphlets, it might get the approval of a certain West Racine alderman.

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  45. Jim's People12/13/2009 8:34 PM

    To you useless people that say my christian believes are bad. You will never make it to the place were people that spread gods word and keep our homes safe for our grandkidds can play without being shot at by a gang driv eby will go to paradise. the changing that is happening will ruin our way of lives. Thanks be to god for one man in west Racine that is fighting alongside us to keep certin people way from our homes. We can not be judged by you only the lord so we don't care what you think"

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  46. Jim's people, not sure of you're serious or not but either way you crack me up. Keep the posts coming.

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  47. 8:34 That's some funny stuff!

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  48. Jim's People said - I would suggest you read your idiotic comments before posting. There were at least 4 errors in it.

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  49. Obviously Jim's People is an near-illiterate fool who, like Jim Spangenberg, can't understand that 90% of the residents in the neighborhood are in favor of Tom's project. With the re-opening of the BP gas station at Washington and Indiana, I don't care if Tom incorporates gas pumps into his project or not. But, he seems to think they will be necessary to subsidize the other businesses in the project. I can definately see that point and think they should be allowed.

    Some seem to think that putting gas pumps there is going to pollute the property. However, with the newer fiberglass or polymer underground storage tanks, that really isn't the case.

    Will it increase traffic in the intersection? Yes, it most definately will. But then, whatever business goes in on that corner is going to increase traffic. It's the natural order of things.

    Get over it Jim and let's get moving on this project. However, I do think that if Tom gets his $50,000.00 per year credit towards the purchase of the property there should be no further financial or tax incentives considered.

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  50. To Jim & Jim's People, maybe if you had some customers to sell furniture to, you might be busy enough to mind your own business and not act like a complete idiot. As a public official, you should act a little classier and not like a raging madman. By the way, you should concentrate a little more on furniture sales because it seems to be lagging at your store.

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  51. 2:50 - he sells grandma furniture.

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  52. http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/article_4fcdf976-e917-11de-ab66-001cc4c002e0.html

    I am so glad we can pay for this land for Tom. Makes me feel so good. Praise God that once again the only thing Racine understands is build everywhere!
    Tom please cut down Dekvon Wood we need a gas station not green space

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