Residents Monday helped Sturtevant trustees compile a wish list of potential details they’d like to see included in future development along Highway 11.
The village board and the Community Development Authority held the joint meeting as the first of what Village President Steve Jansen hopes will be several conversations with residents and village business owners. A group of about 20 people attended.
The closure of Sturtevant’s successful tax incremental financing district next year means Sturtevant trustees are looking at establishing new districts to keep the development ball rolling.
Among the items people said they want to see are:
- Safer pedestrian crossings
- Lower speed limits from Wisconsin Street to Willow Road
- Additional traffic lights at key intersections
- Improved landscaping at existing businesses
- More sidewalks or walking paths along Highway 11 leading west to the Hiawatha Crossing ponds
- Buried power lines and decorative street lights
- A grocery store or pharmacy like CVS across from Farm & Fleet
- Creation of a downtown/Main Street area with accessible parking
A question about the state Department of Transportation’s plan to widen Durand Avenue from 86th Street to Highway 31 spurred a short discussion and re-hash of the failed redirection of Willow Road north of Highway 11.
Village Engineer Jeff Seitz explained that because the proposed redirection of Willow Road north of Durand Avenue is most likely a dead issue after talks broke down with SC Johnson over the sale of land needed to complete the project, the state has changed its expansion plan to one of resurfacing.
“The DOT project for Highway 11 was keyed on the north leg of Willow Road,” he said. “Without that happening, the DOT is killing the plans it had. Without the north leg, nothing happens. But if we get that, the rest falls in place like dominoes.”
The difference between the expansion plan and the resurfacing plan is significant because the primary purpose of the proposed changes, Seitz added, was focused on improving safety for foot, bike and vehicle traffic. The state’s plan also pauses Sturtevant’s plan to extend Willow Road south of Durand Avenue to connect with the road where it currently ends at Broadway, creating another north-south artery through the village.
When voices were raised about the dangers of turning into and out of the Farm & Fleet and Milaeger’s parking lots, Jansen and other board members urged residents to make their voices heard by calling state representatives in Madison.
“We’re always talking to the state, but when residents start calling Madison instead of a certain company, then things will start happening,” Trustee Chris Larsen commented in a thinly veiled reference to SC Johnson. “That goes for dropping speed limits, too.”
Years ago, Trustee John Johnson pointed out, the village rezoned the first 200 feet of frontage along Highway 11 for commercial because trustees then envisioned a thriving business district as the gateway to Sturtevant. He urged residents and business owners to get creative with their ideas, and Seitz agreed.
“Improved parking, improved pedestrian safety, new businesses, let’s write it all down,” Seitz said. “We’re dreaming right now so let’s think outside the box.”
The CDA expects to continue meeting to explore ideas discussed Monday as the TIF district closure gets closer. Ideally, trustees would like to have new districts defined and ready to go by as early as next fall.