RACINE — The Landmarks Preservation Commission is pushing to restore historic brick pavers to the intersection of College Avenue and 16th Street.
The intersection, which is within the Southside Historic District, is paved with asphalt and slated for reconstruction in the near future. To the north and south of the intersection, College Avenue is paved with historic bricks.
During a meeting on March 12, the commission submitted its recommendations, designating restoration of the full intersection to historic brick with brick crosswalks as the most appropriate. It also designated having an asphalt intersection with historic brick crosswalks as only “moderately appropriate.”
In response, engineers from the city and Graef Engineering Co. suggested an asphalt intersection with new brick, designed to mimic the historic brick on College Avenue, for the crosswalks.
Commissioner Don Schumacher did not feel it was much of a compromise.
“This is even less than what we thought was least appropriate,” Schumacher said. “My concern is we keep nibbling away at College Avenue and eventually it goes away.”
Matt Sadowski of the city’s Planning and Redevelopment Department said the engineers were concerned that historic brick would not hold up under the 16th Street traffic. Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s estimated traffic flow for that intersection is about 1,800 vehicles per day.
Sadowski said the engineers had also said the city didn’t have enough historic brick stockpiled to complete the intersection. Alderman Mollie Jones wanted to know what happened to the city’s stockpile.
“We were told in 2016 there were enough to replace anything on College Avenue,” Jones said.
“I know that we informed there was lots of brick,” he said. “Now we’re being told they don’t have enough.”
Although the meeting wasn’t a public hearing, the commission voted to suspend the rules in order to hear from some of the residents who attended the meeting.
Alice Thomson asked about the difference in cost between asphalt and brick pavers. Sadowski said that if the engineers had calculated those differentials, they had not shared them with him.
Sadowski said the engineers had asked the commission to state it “find no adverse impact” with their proposed solution.
Schumacher made a motion to find no adverse impact with a full historic brick restoration.
“Anything less than a fully bricked historic intersection would have an adverse effect,” he said.
Sadowski was concerned the motion could be interpreted as conflicting with Resolution 0111-17, which was passed in March 2017. The resolution stated the brick pavers on College Avenue between 14th Street and DeKoven Avenue were not a historical artifact:
“(T)he purpose of a new resolution is to allow a flexible yet more defined vehicle that reflects the concerns and responsibility of the City, given limited resources, to provide a safe and passable public thoroughfare in a cost effective manner …”
Jones and Schumacher added to the motion that the above resolution had been intended as a guideline for repairs, not reconstruction.
YORKVILLE — An Illinois woman and a Mount Pleasant man were killed following separate motorcycle crashes this weekend in Racine and Kenosha counties.
James E. Malnar II, 25, of Mount Pleasant has died after a crash reported at 9:25 p.m. Sunday in the 17200 block of Durand Avenue (Highway 11), Yorkville, the Racine County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Initial reports stated that a motorcycle left the roadway, and the driver was thrown from the motorcycle into a field. Witnesses found the driver and reported that he was not conscious and bleeding severely.
The driver was taken via Flight For Life to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, where he was treated for life-threatening injuries. Froedtert said that the man’s injuries are non-survivable.
He was reported deceased early Tuesday morning.
The Sheriff’s Office said alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, and the operator was also not wearing a helmet.
Another motorcycle rider, a 26-year-old man from Mount Pleasant, witnessed the accident. Through the course of the investigation, deputies arrested the witness for operating while impaired, first offense.
This investigation was ongoing as of Monday.
An Illinois woman is dead and several others were injured in a crash early Saturday night involving several motorcycles traveling in a group in Kenosha County.
At 6:32 p.m. Saturday, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Town of Randall Fire Department responded to a serious vehicle crash in the 12400 block of Highway W.
Investigation into this crash revealed that a group of Illinois motorcyclists were traveling south along Highway W when the lead operator of a 2006 Harley-Davidson failed to negotiate a curve in the road and lost control of his motorcycle, according to a Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department news release issued Monday.
The motorcycle slid into another motorcycle, a 2010 Harley-Davidson, which had a driver and a passenger. This created a domino effect and another motorcycle, a 1998 Kawasaki, also crashed.
The passenger from the 2010 Harley-Davidson suffered serious injuries. A Flight For Life helicopter was contacted and landed in a nearby parking lot, but the passenger, identified as 47-year-old Lisa Fagan from Illinois, was pronounced deceased at the scene.
There were five other injuries reported in the crash, ranging from minor to significant. The roadway was closed for a time as authorities investigated the scene.
As of Monday, authorities believed that speed contributed to the crash.
As temperatures rise, and with more than 535,000 Wisconsin residents holding a motorcycle license or permit, more motorcycles are making their way onto Wisconsin roadways.
May is designated as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and traffic safety officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation are asking motorcyclists and motorists in cars and trucks to share the road, be alert and safe.
“Because of their smaller profile, it’s easy to misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle,” said David Pabst, director of the DOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. “That’s why we ask car and truck drivers to look twice for motorcycles before pulling out from a stop sign, turning left at an intersection or changing lanes.”
The DOT reports that as a group, the motorcycle community is aging. The average age of a motorcyclist involved in a fatal crash increased from 30 years old in 1992 to 44 in 2017.
“Education courses are designed for beginners, as well as other classes aimed at experienced riders,” Pabst said. “One trend we see is middle-aged people who drove a motorcycle many years ago, then resume riding on a cycle that’s larger and more powerful. A safety refresher course would be a wise investment, and what you learn could save your life.”
The DOT is offering several safety tips to help keep motorcyclists safe on the road:
RACINE — A man died Monday after being shot in the chest Saturday night, the Racine Police Department reported Monday afternoon.
Police responded to the intersection of 11th Street and Grand Avenue at 10:26 p.m. Saturday for a report of a person shot. The man was initially transported to Ascension All Saints Hospital.
Little information was obtained from the victim about how he was wounded, according to police. Officers do not know where the incident took place.
As of Monday, no one was in custody in the incident, the investigation was ongoing and police did not name the victim.
Police investigators are interested in any additional information people may have about the crime. Anyone with information is urged to call the department’s investigations unit 262-635-7756.
Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at 262-636-9330 or by texting 274637. Text messages should begin with RACS.
MOUNT PLEASANT — The Village of Mount Pleasant is in the home stretch to acquire the land necessary to push the Foxconn Technology Group project forward.
With the exception of a few small parcels of land, the village has acquired nearly all of the property inside of Area I that will house the main Foxconn manufacturing facility, also known as “The Core.”
According to Alan Marcuvitz, an attorney working with the village to acquire the property, the village has transferred about 780 acres of land over to Foxconn and has put a $75 million special assessment “against the area that’s being transferred.”
“Based on that, Foxconn owes us special assessments of $75 million, which will start to be billed on a 20-year basis,” Marcuvitz said. “So the 2019 tax bill will have the first installment of Area I special assessment on it.”
The village continues to purchase property at 140 percent of the home value, and is continuing to pay for relocation, but also is purchasing each additional acre for $50,000.
Marcuvitz used the example of if someone has a 0.8-acre home site, valued at $400,000, those people would get about $560,000 for the property.
“Now you go to the same house but instead of it sitting on 0.8 of an acre, it sits on three acres,” Marcuvitz said. “So there’s two extra acres of surplus land, we’re paying another $50,000 per acre of surplus land. So in that example those people would get about $100,000 more than the first people because of the surplus land.”
After the land is purchased, Marcuvitz said, according to state law the village must allow for up to 30 days of free rent before it can start charging rent for people who have not yet moved off of the property. However, the village is not charging rent.
“We are not charging anybody any rent,” Marcuvitz said, which includes mortgages. “So people are on the property for three months, they don’t pay any rent for the three months that they’re there. They only pay their own utility expenses and keep their insurance in force.”
The deal the residents are receiving, Marcuvitz said, is not similar to other situations where residents are selling their property to a municipality.
“From my experience,” Marcuvitz said. “I don’t know of any other project in which people have received 140 percent of the fair-market value of their property, not to mention the extra bonus piece of surplus land. And I really don’t know of anywhere where people can be there rent-free after the first 30 days.”
Property owners will have the opportunity to take whatever they want from their homes, including the buildings themselves.
One issue that has gotten a lot of attention from residents has been the issue of blighted property.
On May 9, the Mount Pleasant Community Development Authority plans to vote on the redevelopment plan, which addresses the remaining properties within Area I that have not come to an agreement with the village.
Wisconsin state statue defines a “blighted area” as including “an area which is predominantly open and which because of obsolete platting, diversity of ownership, deterioration of structures or of site improvements, or otherwise, substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of community.”
If necessary, Marcuvitz said, the village would plan to use the terms relating to land that is “predominantly open,” “diversity of ownership,” “substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of the community,” along with claiming the property is “landlocked” with no access to the road.
“Not one single property will be declared a blighted property,” Marcuvitz said. “We’re talking about how this area is defined by statute. The case law says that even if the property within a blighted area is not blighted, it can be acquired for purposes of the project.”
Marcuvitz said the village has the potential to save millions of dollars by issuing bonds through the redevelopment plan.
“If the CDA is allowed to go ahead with this plan, we figure we’ll save about $3 million in interest by being able to mark it double tax exempt bonds,” Marcuvitz said. “CDA bonds are exempt from state and federal taxation. If the village borrows the money it’s only exempt from federal taxation.”
In the coming weeks, Marcuvitz said, the village plans to hand over the land to American Transition Company to build the substation, east of Highway H and between Braun Road and Highway KR, to power the facility.
“We have a plan to sell and close, in May, the 33-acre substation area to ATC,” Marcuvitz said. “We’re awaiting their proposed easement documents that will carry the power east to 90th Street and beyond … it’s the biggest concentrated installation of power that I have ever seen, to serve this whole area, not just Foxconn.”
“I don’t know of any other project in which people have received 140 percent of the fair-market value of their property, not to mention the extra bonus piece of surplus land. And I really don’t know of anywhere, where people can be there rent-free after the first 30 days.” Alan Marcuvitz, attorney working with the Village of Mount Pleasant