The Village of Greendale and the Greendale Historical Society held an open house brainstorming session to gather input from the public for future Village Center redevelopment.
GRAEF, a Milwaukee-based engineering firm, developed five concepts that were on displayed at Wednesday's open house.
Conversations about the Village Center redevelopment flourished after the Historical Society presented their plan for
Historical Society president Ted Mainella said not to think so much of the presentations as concepts but more as visions and potential uses.
"The thought occurred to our group that what if tomorrow the hose tower was done, the community center we envisioned was constructed...then what?" Mainella said. "We started throwing out ideas. What if we fix up the police station, fix up the flag pole….had eight or ten living units…move some of the parking lot area."
Village President John Hermes and trustees assured attendees yesterday that the plans are only conceptual and nothing has been set on stone.
The goals behind the redevelopment is to try to enhance the tax base growth and stability, improve the vitality of the downtown area, attract more business and build the Village's reputation and value.
The redevelopment will look to address circulation and parking, residential and other uses, historic character and public places.
The attached PDF shows the four different concepts. All concepts have additional residential units, non-residential units, addition of some green space and additional parking. Concept one and two eliminate the parking lot and add angle and underground parking. Concept three and four keep some of the lot and also add underground parking.
Greendale resident Steve Johnson and his wife said that they would like to see parking preserved and not eliminated. Johnson's wife was not keen on the diagonal parking concepts.
"I do come to the farmers market in the summer and it’s hard to park there already," she said.
Hermes said that the value of the land would approximately increase by $10 million if this redevelopment were to happen. He also said the village is looking to private developers to finance the redevelopment of current and new buildings, along with some village financing for areas like green spaces.
Village trustee Sally Chadwick took notes the whole night and said she has noticed that some people prefer ideas from one concepts and ideas from another.
"What I’m hearing about all the designs is 'Gee, I like this over here' 'Oh this one has a bathroom and this has parking spots where I like,'" Chadwick said. "They’re picking things that they like. There’s not a single plan here that everyone would want."
Betty Ferchoff, owner of located in the Village Center, loves the idea and sees real potential in it.
"To me right now that back area is a dead zone," Ferchoff said. "I think it’s good to have a conversation and see what we can do to have this beautiful community space. We want the Greendale people to take ownership. We want the schools involved, the businesses involved, the residents and the organizations involved."
Some residents expressed they don't feel the area needs to be redeveloped right now. Two individuals who did not want to be named said that they would rather see the Village finish the revitalization of the 76th street corridor before jumping into another project.
When asked if the idea of redeveloping the center was realistic Chadwick said, "I’m thrilled that we are talking about it. It has taken us forever to get the ball rolling….Maybe something will happen and maybe it won’t, but at least we have started talking."