City Inches Toward Public-Private Partnership at Delphi
Community Development Authority will be involved with acquisition.
Oak Creek has taken another step toward a public-private partnership to redevelop the Delphi site.
The Common Council on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the city’s Community Development Authority to participate in the acquisition of the former Delphi property, 7929 S. Howell Ave.
Among other advantages, doing this allows the CDA to potentially receive grant funding to help the city purchase the site, City Attorney Larry Haskin said. Oak Creek previously committed $2 million toward acquiring the 85-acre parcel, while Wispark, a subsidiary of We Energies, will spend $6 million.
The CDA is a quasi-government body that functions as the city’s economic development organization.
The terms of a public-private partnership are still under negotiation. One possible outcome, Haskin said, is that the city could wind up a part-owner of the property.
Mark Verhalen, a current School Board member and former alderman, said that's a scenario the city should avoid.
"It's really not the city's job to be in real estate speculation," he said.
But Haskin and Oak Creek aldermen said approving the CDA's participation was a more broad move that allows for greater flexibility.
"There are pros and cons as to whether the city should or should not be on the title," Haskin said. "This simply gives us the opportunity to explore those options."
Haskin noted that redevelopment is new territory for Oak Creek.
While a suburb like West Allis has years of experience in redeveloping old industrial sites, Oak Creek has really only dealt with new development.
The Delphi and lakefront both fall in that redevelopment category, and that means a new approach.
"We are in a brand new world in terms of redevelopment," Haskin said, "both at the lakefront and Delphi."