Friday, October 21, 2005

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair

Contributed by: Jim B.
Have you seen the article this morning about a possible new Lowes coming in on Washburn? Sounds like they are negotiating to improve Washburn in order to seal the deal. The city would divert funds allocated for next year arterial street repair to fix Washburn. According to our Mayor, Washburn is in pretty bad shape! Has he driven down Grand? I understand this would increase the tax base, but how much longer will residents have to wait to get there decrepit streets fixed? And who is to say this won't happen again next year when Home Depot, etc. comes calling? Do we really need another store like this in that area? And what would stop Lowes from bailing down the road for a better location, i.e. Menards and Walmart?

Flame away,

Jim B.

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: doseofreality on Friday, October 21 2005 @ 08:49 AM MDT
Mr. B seems confused once again.

Here's the guy that thought that the amphitheater would bring in boat loads of people to Oshkosh and supported that project which cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, and now it seems he doesn't seem to think that a Lowe's would help the city, and that the taxpayers shouldn't help pay for a poorly designed, and substandard Washburn St.

Hey B, here's a clue, Lowe's is more beneficial than the amphitheater!

Is this guy for real???

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: admin on Friday, October 21 2005 @ 09:52 AM MDT
But dose, should we put off doing residential roads just because some business wants to come to town? Hopefully there will always be a business that wants to come to town, but we have to find a reasonable balance. It doesn't help our image when so many residential streets look like crap either. We have enough lousy streets in this city and need to start getting them fixed more quickly - in one way or another.

- Cheryl

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: Jim B. on Friday, October 21 2005 @ 10:16 AM MDT

What does this issue have to do with the Leach Ampitheater? Please enlighten us as you have all the answers. Then you might actually add something to the discussion.

The real issue is a corporate entity forcing us to use funds earmarked for other street repair to repair the street they will have as an entrance. Why Cowtow to these demands? Will they really help Oshkosh that much? Please explain how? Obviously, we will get taxes from them, but how else? Jobs that most will likely be minimum wage with no benefits? Some jobs are better than none, but does this make it worth bending over backwards for them?

Washburn is planned for updating, but not in the timing we would be forced to do based on Lowes demands. This is no less than Corporate Welfare.

Jim B.

PS The Leach brought in close to 50,000 people this Summer. Granted most were for Waterfest, but I think there numbers were up as well(hopefully somebody can confirm this). I would hardly call that failure. Also, let's see how things go after the promoters have a full season to do there jobs. This past Summer was almost a wash based on there start date.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: DP on Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:49 AM MDT
The Council has already authorized the use of over $90million in bonding for "Capital Improvements". Why not use it here?? The road is going to be done in the fairly near future anyway...why not get a Lowe's in the process? At least a Lowe's would generate ten's of thousand's of dollars in tax revenues each year...unlike some of our "quality of life" projects.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: DRR on Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:58 AM MDT
We can say no, like we have for years, and continue driving to Appleton for everything we need. At some point we need to step up to the plate and do what it takes to get some quality stores, restaurants, and industry in this city. I do not see them lining up to come here the last 20 years. Taking a hard line against big business has gotten us no where. Why the hate for corporations in this city? We need them more than they need us. Take a look at what we do not have. Fox River Mall? Home Depot? Kohls? Best Buy? Quad Graphics? The list of lost opportunities goes on! Will Lowe's be next? Five Rivers? We need to think long and hard about the message we will be sending to other prospective opportunities.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: Jim B. on Friday, October 21 2005 @ 12:19 PM MDT

Very valid points of which I tend to agree. I am by no means anti-corporate. I just don't think it is prudent to take money away from projects already slated to appease Lowes. Can't this agreement get done with the understanding that the Washburn upgrades will take place? They are already scheduled. Mr. Pommerening stated in the article that he doesnt see how the City is going to get it done in the time frame anyway. Yes, the taxes would be good, but if we have to buy land for a right away, how long before we are coming out ahead? It is really a question of growth for growths sake vs. smart growth.

Jim B.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: doseofreality on Friday, October 21 2005 @ 02:39 PM MDT

I thought you were going to ignore my posts?? Hmmm, seems you can't decide whether to ignore or not ignore. At least your consistant in your waffling here.

In regards to your questions.

1. What does this have to do with the amphitheater? I thought I was clear, but I guessed you missed the point, again. You're ok with spending millions of dollars of taxpayers' money for an amphitheater that few people will use, buy you're not ok with spending taxpayers money for a road EVERYONE will use, and is desperately needed.

2. You claim that a corporate entity is "forcing" us to use funds for the road. Again, you are incorrect. Lowe's, or anyone else for that matter, can't "force" us to do anything.

3. Why cow tow to these demands? Again, no "demand" is being leveled.

4. Will they really help Oshkosh that much, what other taxes, bending over backwards? WOW, if I need to explain this to you, you may be a lost soul. Please read DRR's analysis, it's quite good! Aren't you taking those civics classes at the city? Maybe you need to pay attention, or ask more questions.

5. Waterfest. If Waterfest is sooooooo successful, why are they balking at having a $1.00 fee placed on a ticket for maintenance of the joint? Ask yourself that B.

Wise up B, and please ignore my post.


No, I don't think that we should put off residential roads just to do this project. The city staff should find a way to do both. You are correct, we do have a lot of lousy streets that need to be done. Hopefully we can get them all done.

Perhaps if we didn't do stupid projects like the amphitheater, we would have more money to get the things done that we need. But I guess you have to talk to Mr. B about that. He thinks the amphitheater is working out great.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: Jim B. on Saturday, October 22 2005 @ 07:10 AM MDT
I prefer pancakes over waffles, but thanks!

Jim B.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: poeschl on Saturday, October 22 2005 @ 08:48 AM MDT
I disagree that LOWES in more beneficial than the Amphitheater. Lowes
is just like Wal-Mart, a big box retailer. Matter of fact we still have an
empty Wal MArt box in Oshkosh. Lowes is bad for Oshkosh because it will
be pitted againt Menards, a wisconsin big box retailer with just as many
problems as Lowes but is regional.

What the city should say to Lowes is if you want to come to Oshkosh,
Take the old Walmart building or do not come at all. Lowes is bad for
business. Our city should not be catering to un sustainable development.

Hey what happen to the City Planners implementing Smart Growth
Principles into city planning? All they are planning is economic growth for
retailers not for the taxpayer.

Put LOWES IN the old Wal Mart or get out.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: popo on Saturday, October 22 2005 @ 04:46 PM MDT
We talk about how bad the box stores are for our area business and how they cost taxpayers so much because of their labor practices. But even though I don't agree with delaying other road projects to attract them to the area I feel this is a much better situation than the proposed five rivers project. Neither will bring in the jobs this area needs as they willl both offer service type jobs with no or little benefits. But at least Lowes will begin to contribute to the tax base now rather than in 20 years. No matter how anyone defends the TIF districts the facts are that TIF's do pay themselves off over the next 20 years but they pay nothing to relieve the tax problems we have today. Correct me if I'm wrong but they pay no county or school taxes either?

Maybe Mr. Pommerening should be ak to add some money to this since I see him gaining quite a bit of money in this development.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: DRR on Monday, October 24 2005 @ 08:35 AM MDT
What has the river property been contributing to the tax base the past few years? Last I looked it is empty land. Five Rivers would spur other development and bring alot of tourist dollars to the community while they were paying off the TIF. Right now we have nothing.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: popo on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 09:55 AM MDT
There has been no tax contributions since the city took it off the tax rolls. Now lets even take more properties off to help attract more businesses with our free give aways. If you look into it I believe one of the factors for not building in Escanaba, MI was that area was not willing to donate to private businesses. Oshkosh has now established itself as a city willing to give the freebies to anyone who asks.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 10:25 AM MDT
You're right and it's a reputation I believe we've had for a some time. That has been my argument all along: that this city offers up TIF districts, free money and sweet deals as an automatic, before even finding out what the developers are willing to do. But city administration has now set a precedent and developers come in expecting things like this. We need to start learning from other communities how to get development without always relying on TIFs. The town of Grand Chute is a shining example (as well as other towns) of what can be done when you really put your mind to it. They cannot do TIFs, yet they manage to get lots of development. And if a community automatically has to offer a TIF in order to get development, I think it sends a message that says "we have nothing else to offer you, so here you go." Oshkosh has a lot to offer people and businesses. Let's stop relying solely on TIFs to move this community forward.

Finally, if we are going to create a TIF for something, we need to do it on a "pay as you go" system, which is exactly what I brought up when I ran for city council in this last election. I was the only one who even mentioned it. Now other people are talking about it. It's one way to help ensure that if a project fails, the city doesn't get completely burned in the process.

- Cheryl

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: DRR on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 10:52 AM MDT
Grand Chute has an advantage. The Fox River Mall. I have not seen businesses lining up to come to Oshkosh the past 20 years. Five Rivers could be the center piece. You need to have something to help attract more business without TIF's. Five Rivers could do for the downtown what the mall did for Grand Chute. Hopefully down the road businesses will be lining up to come here, but until they are we need to go the extra yard to attract them.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 01:22 PM MDT
I understand they have the mall, and that's exactly why I said we have to do a better job of marketing that which Oshkosh has to offer.

But still, that cannot be used as an excuse by anyone. After all, there are plenty of towns and villages across Wisconsin which do not have the Fox River Mall, and they are seeing plenty of development, too. It CAN be done if the effort is made and the proverbial TIF carrot is not dangled in front of developers as a standard operating procedure.

If our city leaders are saying we need to always give a TIF in order to get something, then could someone please tell us what will be done to get additional economic growth when we can no longer offer TIFs because we have reached our limit? Will the growth then stop until enough existing TIFs are closed out that we can begin offering them again? To use TIFs everytime a developer comes a'calling is to show a lack of ingenuity and salesmanship. 'Course like I said earlier, we have a reputation for offering TIFs at the drop of a hat, so perhaps we are now boxed into a corner because someone got lazy and didn't want to find a way to entice developers by any other means.

- Cheryl

P.S. Incidentally, the town of Grand Chute did a masterful job of marketing themselves to GET the Fox River Mall in the first place. They did it with no TIF money, and I was told by the local leaders there that they offered nothing to the developers to spur that development. So again, I submit to everyone reading this: It CAN be done without always offering up a TIF!!

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: DRR on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 02:00 PM MDT
We seem to have a hard time getting anyone to come here even when we offer the "carrot".

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 02:28 PM MDT
I don't entirely know about that. Five Rivers wants to come. And plenty of other developers have taken advantage of TIFs over the years or we wouldn't have so many. If we don't have much to show for it all those TIFs (other than apartments and condos and a somewhat revitalized downtown) maybe it's because we're not trying to attract the right stuff or revitalize in the right way.

- Cheryl

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: DRR on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 03:12 PM MDT
I believe great progress has been made in the downtown is a realtively short time. It took decades for it to die. Time will tell if this is the right way to go with this property. I know Green Bay has struggled to find someone to develop their riverfront. They all want incentives. I would think Green Bay has alot more to offer than Oshkosh. Do you know of any projects that Oshkosh has turned down for the riverfront properties? I would think if someone stepped up and wanted to use their own dollars we would have jumped on it. My guess is there were no such offers.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 03:18 PM MDT
Relative to the riverfront itself, no, I cannot think of someone who wanted to put in their own dollars and not get a handout from the city. Again, I think TIFs are good tools when all else fails. But I don't think they should be the only tool we use and I don't think it should be an automatic.

I'm glad you're happy with the downtown. I patronize it frequently, but it just is not thriving to the point that other communities' downtown districts are. Something is missing from the Oshkosh equation, it seems. That is a shame.

- Cheryl

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: L Schaffer on Tuesday, October 25 2005 @ 09:10 PM MDT
You know what is missing and it will be missing until the city goverment starts to treat businesses with better respect. This city still has the reputation of being anti business and that is why Appleton and Fun du lac are growing faster than Oshkosh.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: OshRocks! on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 08:51 AM MDT
Oshkosh is growing much faster than Fond du Lac - Especially in the downtown area. I would not use the city of Fond du Lac when arguing your point.

Oshkosh is coming along - downtown revitalization is helping, adding venues to draw tourists and businesses are helping and will continue to draw attention to this city, and continued growth on the 41 corridor will help in this high visibility area.

We need it all, and we will benefit in the end.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: L Schaffer on Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 02:45 PM MDT
Continued growth on the 41 corridor will not help downtown Oshkosh, there is nothing downtown that draws the people down there, you need a big name store and more parking , but I don't see happening. Oh sure downtown will grow a little more and the city gov. will spend more tax dollars to help it along, but I see it coming to an end and it will die again.

Big Box vs. Residential Street Repair
Authored by: DRR on Wednesday, October 26 2005 @ 08:01 AM MDT
The downtown has a long way to go. But it is improving. This will not happen over night. Like I said, it took 20-30 years for it to die.