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Downtown Racine archway

Pictured is a rendering of the proposed Downtown entryway arches, designed by Design Partners, 338 Main St. 

Quaint can be good, but then, again filling potholes is a necessity. Plans for two archways in Downtown Racine to mark the city’s historic district advanced this week on a 2-1 vote of the Public Works and Services Committee. The proposed archways — similar to ones that mark historic sections in Milwaukee and other cities — would provide bookends to the Downtown area and would cross Main Street at Sixth Street and State Street. The city is being asked to pony up the costs of preliminary design work to the tune of $10,000, but the cost of construction for the arches could run from $75,000 to $100,000. Several Downtown businesses back the plan and there are proposals for fundraising efforts such as online crowdfunding. We’ll reserve judgment on these golden arches until we see more details on the costs, but we trust the City Council will weigh the beauty of the arches against the city’s road maintenance obligations.

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Thumbs up: And speaking of potholes: Pizza can be filling. That’s good news up the road in Milwaukee where Dominoes Pizza has given $5,000 to the city to fix potholes. The grant was part of the pizza chain’s summertime advertising “Paving for Pizza” pitch that ostensibly was designed to protect customers from pizza being damaged in transit. No one, after all, wants to get a pizza with the cheese stuck to the top of the box. Milwaukee was nominated by an alderman and Public Works officials there said the $5,000 was used to buy 50 tons of hot asphalt – enough to fill 200 potholes. Pepperoni would cost extra.

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Thumbs up: Now that’s quite a showroom. Case IH Agriculture last week showcased its new showcase – a multi-use 20,000 square foot showroom and 150 seat auditorium designed as a gathering point for Case IH dealers, producers and employees. Dubbed “the Racine Experience Center,” the facility will be used for new product introductions, customer visits and serve as a jumping off point for factory tours. The center is expected to draw several thousand visitors to Racine County each year and adds another chapter to the local company’s 175-year-old commitment to the community. It’s a great spot to kick some really big tires as they come off the production line.

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Thumbs up: Park it right here. Everybody likes a bargain and half off certainly fits that bill. For the next six months at least the parking rates at four Downtown Racine city ramps will be only $1 – down from $2. The City Council last week signed off on the trial period to cut the ramp rates—in hopes, no doubt, that the lower fees will attract more parkers to recover the reduced rates.

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Thumbs down: Build the wall. No, not that wall, the other one. Texas is lobbying the federal government for $12 billion in funding to build a 60-mile spine of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers and steel barriers to protect its Gulf Coast against more powerful storms and higher tides expect from climate change. Shoring up the shoreline would protect homes and ecosystems and – wait for it – the industrial petrochemical centers south of Houston that are home to most of Texas’ 30 oil refineries. Given that some blame the oil industry for contributing to global warming that some allege contributes to climate change, perhaps the seawalls will be built out of irony.

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