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Branding Voices Concerns Over Downtown Direction

Village President Suzanne Branding says she understands residents’ frustration over changes in the direction of downtown development.

 

Village President Suzanne Branding continues to have numerous concerns over the village board’s recent decision to

“I’m just really surprised that five of six trustees jumped on board without doing the checking or background about this alternative,” Branding said.  “It just came out of left field.”

Branding said one of her concerns is whether the village can legally take properties that were condemned and put them on the market.  She said the village attorney would need to give an opinion on that matter.

Branding is also concerned that the properties purchased at the top of the market will sell for just a fraction of what the village paid for them.

The village could also lose control over what gets built downtown, Branding said.

She said she has been told that the only thing developers are getting financing for right now is apartment buildings.

“If this property is sold and, obviously, developers put up what they want, I’m just wondering if we might have a lot of rental units and that might not serve the community at all,” Branding said.

“I’m hearing residents say they want a commercial, retail gathering spot . . . Residents have to live with a downtown that doesn’t look good; any building should be done for them, not new people coming in,” Branding said.

 

Branding said the courtesy review process was a difficult one. , across from the Promenade. She said developers were supposed to come up with a plan for Block A and then the board would decide on one. However, the developers’ plans kept changing from one meeting to the next.

“They kept changing, moving and shifting which makes the whole process very difficult to deal with,” she said.

Branding said she understands why residents are upset. 

“I understand that residents are extremely frustrated and I don’t blame them. I don’t blame the community at all.  Unfortunately, the economy doesn’t help; that’s a huge part of this,” she said.

Branding said initial plans for downtown redevelopment were too grandiose and unrealistic.

“By the time people realized they were unrealistic, the economy cratered. It was difficult, very difficult to say the least,” Branding said. “Eventually, I am sure it will get done. It will happen. I don’t know when, but it will happen.”

The next village board meeting is on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The agenda has not yet been set.

 

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Resident Observer August 27, 2012 at 05:26 PM
“I’m just really surprised that five of six trustees jumped on board without doing the checking or background about this alternative,” Branding said. “It just came out of left field.” __________ Now that's funny! This coming from the Queen who had just led a discussion on the very topic she now claims she knew nothing about. Don't mean to be offensive to anyone, but could it be Alzheimer's?
Resident 225 August 27, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Just a few more months....April 2013. We can be done with this era in the village hopefully.
Disgruntled August 27, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Better yet ... As with diapers, politicians should be changed regularly ... ... for the same reason. Branding should know why people are upset. She's been in office for over 3 years & has no accomplishments. She has to put the blame somewhere.
Thomas Glen Rowe September 02, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Thank you Mr. Mastandrea. It doesn't feel right when the government takes your property and sells it, because it isn't!
Disgruntled September 04, 2012 at 03:29 PM
TG Rowe: I agree with the principle but that bridge was burned long ago. Now what do we do with it? Do we keep it as a park and eat all the expenses & debt? Do we give it to Smith (who Mastandrea seems to love now) at $10 a parcel? Do we look for someone willing to pay for it & make it useful again?

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