Updated 9:56 a.m.: Cost have been added
The Greendale Planning Commission wasn't happy with the proposed designs for a gateway arch meant to bring visitors to the Village Center shops, and sent them back to staff for further review.
Commissioners, including some shop owners, thought the rectangular shape of four of the proposed designs seemed too industrial and did not portray the “charm” of the Village. They spoke about the designs at the commission's Wednesday night meeting.
They preferred a rounded arch, but Village Manager Todd Michaels said that would cost twice as much as the rectangular one. The rectangular arch uses standard traffic signal poles, while a rounded arch would need custom-made supports.
The current estimated cost of the rectangular arch is $115,000. This will change as the design changes. Grandhaven LLC, owners of part of Downtown, have agreed to pay half the cost up to $75,000.
The arch is part of an ongoing effort to bring visitors to the boutiques, shops and restaurants that comprise the Village Center. Another part of the plan is an
Village President John Hermes was opposed to the LED sign and feels building a rectangular arch would be placing "two bad signs" next to each other.
Shop owners expressed their frustration that people who live in Greendale don’t know even know the Village Center exist, much less outsiders.
"For all the years I have come down here I swear I didn’t know there was a Village Center," said the husband of one of the owners . "I knew where Ray & Dots was. I knew where the DMV was. I actually got drawn into the Village Center…from when my son played football and I thought this was really nice."
Cathy Davenport, owner of Shoppe of Around the Corner said most her business comes from surrounding suburbs, not from Greendale residents and believes a sign would help bring outside people.
Roy Reiman, owner of Grandhaven LCC. and founder of Reiman Publications, suggested setting up a $1,000 engineering design contest for students in area schools as a way to cut costs. Grandhaven, LCC. is the landlord to many of the shops in the Village Center.
That idea was met with approval from the public and shop owners, but commisioners said it could delay the project because schools will be out for the summer.
The Village has spent about $80,000 in the last five years trying to direct traffic to the Village Center.