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Tuesday Night: Aurora Thumbs Up or Down?

Aurora, CDA, Famous Footwear, Redevelopment, Silver Spring, Talbots

I've written many times on the debate over whether Aurora/Advanced Health Care should be granted permission to move in to the old Talbot's / Famous Footwear location owned by Boulder Venture.

Tuesday, April 29th, 7pm, at the Village Hall, the Plan Commission will decide our fate.  (See Agenda)  The public is invited to appear and speak.   You may also send statements to the Village Manager (Manager@WFBVillage.org) who will forward them to the Plan Commission.  (Do so quickly.  The meeting is tonight!)

Since I've already written a half-dozen articles on this subject, I'll summarize:

1. Silver Spring Drive needs help, having lost 9+ businesses over the past year and a half.  While its infrastructure will be renewed in the next 18 months, the true cancer is the lack of broad-appeal retail and service offerings on the Drive.   

2. Because of this decline, we need aggressive action to improve the district, with a strong vision for the end goal of having a thriving business district full of entities the Villagers find necessary and interesting.  The Plan Commission (and CDA) should allow or deny businesses on the basis of whether said business moves us closer to that vision.   "Aurora won't hurt" signals a terrible policy direction: we've given up.  When prime locations are vacant, the Village must ensure they are used optimally.

3.  A medical clinic is not bad for the area; It is simply a poor use of prime land.  A clinic does not fill a need for Villagers, as there are over 200 physicians in a two mile radius.   Silver Spring needs businesses that provide spill-over from one establishment to another.  People who visit doctors do so for a clear reason, because they are unwell.  This means there will be little customer spill-over, as people will see their doctor, then depart the area.   Silver Spring needs businesses that "turn night into day" adding to the economic health of the street, past 5pm, at which time, a medical clinic will be a big, dark building.

4. For these reasons, I urge the Plan Commission to understand that the granting of a conditional use for Aurora on this prime land WILL impede the normal and orderly development and specifically impede the improvement of surrounding property in the district.  

As an additional note .. I am not anti-Aurora.  I am confident they have hundreds of caring professionals serving thousands of people in the area.   I would welcome them to other locations in Whitefish Bay that aren't front and center, signature opportunities.

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If you'd like to read another letter sent to the Plan Commission, two residents have forwarded theirs for your perusal.

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