The Mount Pleasant Village Board Monday voted 6-1 to approve the Willkomm Company’s proposed gas station, convenience store, car wash and restaurant development at the corner of Highway 31 and Spring Street.
A crowd of around 80 residents attended the meeting, and just about a dozen people who signed up to speak during the public comment period deferred their comments until the board’s discussion. During the conversation about the development, residents weighed in, most of whom expressed their disapproval.
The Willkomm Company will build a gas station with convenience store, separate retail space and free-standing restaurant on land bordered by Spring Street to the north, Sunnyside to the south, Ohio Street to the east and Highway 31 to the west.
State Sen. Van Wanggaard and Racine resident Myron Tucker both spoke in support of the project.
“This area is ripe for development and will take down the blighted properties, relieve traffic issues and is a great deal not just for Mount Pleasant but for the area,” Wanggaard said. “These are local developers doing this who have other projects around town that look as good now as when they were first built.”
“You have to look at the positive; more jobs, another business in the Racine area, and that spot is a good location for the company to invest in,” he said. “We need these jobs, especially young people just starting out and college students who need part-time work. Please give this business the opportunity to make a difference for us.”
Chuck Haakma, though, believes the Willkomm project will negatively impact property values, which residents can not afford.
“I own three properties around there, and I know my values will go down because of this project,” he said. “I’m being assaulted from three sides, and there’s too many accidents there already.”