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Library/City Hall Decision: Post-Mortem

Some random thoughts about last night and what it means for the future.

Some stream-of-consciousness thoughts on last night's decision to , as I work on four hours sleep and try to get things in order for tonight's mayoral forum...

1. I spoke with Oak Creek-Franklin Superintendent Sara Burmeister today, who responded to some of the criticism that the school district didn't make its position clear to the city. Burmeister said that wasn't the case, that the district let it be known it was open to swapping 50 acres on Oakwood Road for the 12-acre Civic Center site next to , but it was waiting to see what the city decided to do with the library and city hall. For example, if the city hall stayed there, the land wouldn't be big enough for a high school expansion, she said.

As I wrote last night, City Attorney Larry Haskin said that the general parameters of the land swaps were agreed on between the school district and city. But several council members said they did not have enough input from the school district and wanted to wait before voting. And that it should be the school district to decide first if it wanted the Civic Center land.

I don't know what was said in closed session meetings, or what was political posturing, or what exactly the dialogue was between the two governing bodies. All I know is that, at some point down the line, there was a colossal communication breakdown between those two entities. That could not have been more clear last night.

2. There is no consensus whatsoever on what to do at the Delphi site or whether to move those buildings over there. None. I didn't have time to include this in the story I wrote after the meeting, but residents who spoke at the meeting were as divided as the council was. Even in the comments on the story, people are all over the place. And I don't think the that was presented last month showed any clear consensus, either.

At the very least, last night wasn't exactly a vote of confidence for the development.

3. The whole relocation process is really only getting started. That's not good news for people who are sick of hearing about this. But really, there's so much left that has to be done. The first step is negotiating the details of the land swaps (which you can ). Then drawing up plans for the new city hall and library. Determining how big it's going to be and how much it's going to cost. Deciding if it's going to be one building or two buildings. What it's going to take to remove the asphalt from the Delphi site.

Those are just a few things. This is going to be an ongoing process for months and, seriously, probably years. No one should take what happened last night as an end-all, be-all vote and think it's over.

4. This seems like kind of a dumb statement, but things just got too complicated. Last night in the course of a two-hour discussion, the conversation drifted over to parking at the community center, the fire department, why the police station wasn't done differently, how big is Oak Creek High School going to get. I feel we got too far away from simply stating the pro's and con's of the Civic Center and Delphi for the city hall and library.

And I understand that those things are all intertwined. Really, I get it, and it's true. They are all connected somewhat. But...there just has to be a better way than that. It really would have helped if somehow the focus could have narrowed.

5. Not a great showing by city government last night. That has nothing do with what was passed or what wasn't. It just wasn't pretty to watch. I kind of expected that coming in, but I'm sure residents who were there and never come to council meetings did not come away impressed. To use a cliche, they got to "see the sausage being made."

6. I don't think sausage being made is that bad. My dad owns a butcher shop, and he makes sausage, and I have helped him make sausage, and I don't find anything gross about it whatsoever.

Sausage making gets a bad rap, that's all I'm saying.

Gary Kasza February 09, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I hope all of the residents of Oak Creek who opposed moving City Hall etc. remember the three Aldermen's names, and vote them out!!! The land swap, what a closed door deal this was!!! Thanks OC School board and Superindendent!! 50 acres for 12 acres!! Yeah, I have some swamp land for sale too. Ill give you 50 acres for 12! Great business sense there! Remember voters! Write the names down!!

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