As posted on Monday, the EDC Chairman, Alderman Ken Skowronski, is now bumped over to the Community Development Authority (CDA) as of last night. This is significant because the rep for the CDA has always been the 4th District Alderman, because the CDA oversees the Franklin Business Park, which is entirely within the 4th District. With the TIF District for the Business Park retiring this year, the CDA technically needs to find something else to do or else it likely should disband. CDAs per the law as I read it are only allowed to exist with TIF or Business Improvement (BID) Districts to oversee. The Northwestern Mutual and Wheaton Franciscan TIF Districts, at the present time, are being overseen by the Common Council and not the CDA. So, there could be several options coming into play:
- The Common Council puts the CDA back in charge of the Northwestern and Wheaton TIFs
- A new TIF District is created somewhere else in the city
- A new BID District is created somewhere in the city
Option #1 is dead on arrival at the Council due to the immense political pressure this would create.
Option #2, while I argue is a GREAT idea for the Hwy 100 & Loomis intersection, in the past TIFs seem to be only used for selected project areas for selected developers. For some reason, some of our elected leaders choose to only place TIF Districts in areas where the majority of residents won't notice or care to notice. Living in the western part of Franklin, I can vouch that I rarely drive "across town" to 27th Street for anything. My neighbors are the same way. And 27th Street happens to be in the Oak Creek-Franklin School District, so those TIFs do little to relieve us of school district tax problems, but I digress. Simply put - option #2 should be considered, but politics rears its ugly head on this, as well.
That leaves us with Option #3, which is already something Mayor Taylor has alluded to several times in the past with 27th Street between College and Rawson. Another good place for a BID District would be the 76th & Rawson intersection, of which I'm sure hometown developer Jim O'Malley would be more than thrilled to see happen. It would benefit O'Malley's Orchard View center, the redevelopment and enhancement of landscaping for the intersection, and could go all the way to a revitalized Crystal Ridge Ski Hill. O'Malley has shown keen interest in the ski hill area, too. With a BID District or two, the CDA would have renewed power and now basically becomes what the EDC never was, and now former EDC Chair Skowronski, now on the CDA, has a 2nd chance with the future of the city.
So this is my prediction in order:
- Skowronski goes to CDA, and Wilhelm goes to EDC. The EDC as it stands right now is extremely ineffective underneath the Chairmanship of Alderman Skowronski. Wilhelm would have her work cut out, first now being on 5 commissions while other aldermen have around 3, and then to top it off CCP Taylor indicates that he's only willing to give the commission 6 months to somehow "rebound" after tens of years of being in existence. Pretty tough task considering the commission should consist of 12 members but only has less than half its members still hanging on.
- Several weeks or months down the road aldermen begin complaining about the EDC's ineffectiveness and it'll be interesting to see who gets possible blame for said ineffectiveness.
- The Council or EDC itself will vote to disband the EDC or bump it to be a subcommittee of the CDA, which the CDA now has Alderman Skowronski in the power chair as the direct, voting aldermanic rep of that body.
- The "new" EDC, as said subcommittee, will head up as part of the CDA's BID District work. Don't be surprised if the CDA or Mayor Taylor (if chosen to be the only one making appointments) makes any decision to remove "former" members.
More will be in Part II, to be posted tomorrow.