Alderman to move to rescind council vote on RDA

New vote could move blight district action plan forward
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A Shawano alderman is looking to reverse a Common Council vote last month rejecting a blight elimination district proposed by the Shawano Redevelopment Authority.

Bob Kurkiewicz said he will offer a motion at next week’s meeting to rescind the council’s previous vote and accept the redevelopment district boundary proposed by the RDA, which would allow the RDA to go forward with a public hearing on an action plan to address blighted properties within the district.

Kurkiewicz was one of five council members who voted in July to send the proposed district map back to the RDA for reconsideration after hearing concerns from property owners located within the district.

The council did not provide any guidance to the RDA on what the revised boundaries should be.

The RDA met a week after the council meeting and proposed a series of meetings, first with council members and then with the public, to address questions and concerns about the proposed district.

Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said at that meeting that those educational efforts could hold the RDA up for three to four months.

Kurkiewicz, who attended that RDA meeting, said in an interview Wednesday that a three- to four-month delay isn’t necessary.

He said residents who had asked for more transparency about the proposed district at last month’s council meeting have had an opportunity since then to get their questions answered.

Some of those residents attended last month’s RDA meeting where many of those concerns were discussed and addressed, he said.

Kurkiewicz said residents have also had the opportunity over the past month to contact city administration and officials with their questions, and have had access to detailed RDA information available on the city’s website.

Kurkiewicz also said any delay in the RDA’s plans could also put on hold efforts by property owners to get assistance in making improvements to their properties.

He said he had been contacted by at least one business owner who would like to take advantage of the assistance the RDA could provide.

“There’s no sense in holding people up,” Kurkiewicz said.

The council will meet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St., with a presentation from RDA consultant Vierbicher explaining how the boundary was arrived at for a proposed blight elimination district.

Under state law, a municipality can designate a blight redevelopment district if at least 50 percent of the property within the proposed district is blighted, which means “a predominance of structures, buildings, or improvements that are dilapidated, deteriorated, obsolete, or conditions that are detrimental to public health and safety.”

There are 391 properties within the boundaries of the RDA district. Just over half of them are considered blighted or in need of redevelopment.

The RDA district roughly follows the contours of Tax Incremental Finance districts already designated for blight elimination along Main Street from the Wolf River bridge on the north to Wescott Avenue on the south, and along Green Bay Street from Main Street on the west to Rusch Road on the east.