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Aurora

Seven reasons to back the parking structure



Column_headshot_JOHN_HA
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October 21, 2014 | 11:34 AM
You can make a case against the parking structure referendum without making things up.

But the Shore Report can’t help itself.

It reported last week that there will be a “proposed road to run behind the Lake Geneva Utility Commission connecting Geneva Street, the project will consume nine million dollars (at the very least) and cause the loss of many free parking spots currently located across the street from the municipal building (not to mention open park-like areas populated with mature trees and shrubs.) “

This alleged road is somehow linked to the parking structure.

Where to start…

It’s wrong.

No truth to it.

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False.

It was discussed maybe a dozen years ago and hasn’t been brought up as a serious concept since. It won’t happen because it’s made up.

The Shore Report portrays itself as the watchdogs of democracy but they’re trying to influence an election in a most undemocratic way. With misinformation.

Instead of focusing on the negatives, let’s talk about the positives.

1. A parking structure will help solve a problem that’s been percolating for 40 years. Let’s have a vote on it and settle it.

2. It affords new parking for 227 cars. That’ll break the log jam of cars that’s been holding up traffic for decades.

3. It’ll be good looking. The design coordinates well with the downtown architecture.

4. It’s spending money that’s been saved through TIF. There will be no new taxes. In fact, the parking structure will make a profit.

5. Other suggested locations are either too small or outside the TIF. It would end up costing more because land purchases would have to be made.

6. It’ll reduce or eliminate parking on residential streets.

7. And it will help the downtown business people. “Hiss, boo,” I hear. But that’s not a bad thing.

The man who should know, chamber president Darien Schaefer, said of the structure:

“Yes, it will certainly help businesses in downtown Lake Geneva and that is a good thing. It’s good because creating and nurturing a healthy business environment is beneficial for residents.

“A healthy business environment helps retain your favorite stores, restaurants and amenities. It provides residents with job opportunities and generates important operating fees and property taxes that help lower the property taxes that residents have to pay.

“Almost 30 percent of the total city of Lake Geneva revenue ($3.25 Million) comes from a portion of downtown Lake Geneva known as the Business Improvement District (BID). A weaker business environment means less revenue to the city and that results in cuts to city services or requires residents to make up the difference in higher property taxes.

“The parking garage will benefit residents.

“The location and attractive design provides convenient parking for shopping, dining, and working in downtown Lake Geneva. It provides an immediate relief to parking shortages on peak days by 65 percent and will reduce traffic congestion in residential areas throughout the year.”

One caveat. If the parking structure is approved it will still need to be OK’d by the Joint Review Board.

That group is made up of the TIF taxing bodies and a private citizen. It’s not a foregone conclusion that they’ll pass it. As Lilly Tomlin used to say: “And that’s the truth.”

Halverson is editor and general manager of the Regional News.

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