When Sturtevant trustees earlier this month decided not to sell their yard waste dump site to SC Johnson, that should have been the end of the Willow Road relocation story.

But, SCJ isn’t quite ready to let go, so village officials continue to meet with company representatives to try and hammer out a deal. For what, though, remains the question.

The parties arrived at this particular point in the road after almost 20 years of discussions about re-directing Willow Road to connect with 84th Street and the need for 2.6 acres from the southern tip SC Johnson’s Waxdale land. When it became apparent that the company was not going to sell the land to Sturtevant, the village dropped its relocation plans and moved its attention to extending the southern branch of Willow Road north to Highway 11.

At the same meeting Sturtevant trustees voted to disband their Willow Road committee, SCJ spokesperson Kelly Semrau presented two offers; one to purchase the 8.5-acre dump site and another to purchase the yard waste site but also buy land on Highway H across from UNFI and build Sturtevant a new yard waste site.

The village board told SC Johnson the land isn’t for sale, and they aren’t interested in a new site on Highway H. An editorial in The Journal Times says Sturtevant should consider SCJ’s offer(s) because they might be good for village taxpayers.

We disagree, and here’s why:

Sources close to the village told Racine County Eye that SCJ is making purchase offers to the condo owners at Cobble Court and aims to buy the vacant frontage land on Highway 11 as well; moves that Semrau said were not unusual.

If the company is successful, SC Johnson’s dogged pursuit of green space around the portion of Waxdale that lies in Sturtevant – the land along Highway 11 – takes valuable property out of contention for development that could not only bring needed jobs to the area but also generate valuable property taxes that will lower rates for every property owner in the village.

The same thing would happen to the land on Highway H across from UNFI, which is considered by village officials to be ripe for development, perhaps in a new tax incremental financing district. Buying that land for a new yard waste dump site means it can’t be developed by new or expanding businesses, so the village – and the region – would miss out on all the associated benefits.

We’re left wondering how it’s good for the village and it’s taxpayers, both present and future, not to mention the region, to remove land in prime locations from potentially developing into job-generating and taxpaying operations.

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