By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Union Grove officials could soon mine the resources and expertise of a state organization as efforts to breathe new life into the village’s downtown corridor continue.

Trustee Gordon Svendsen, who chairs the village’s Community Development Authority, discussed with fellow panelists a program designed to amplify the attributes of historic downtown areas, such as the one in the heart of Union Grove.

Although no formal action was taken, Svendsen at the June 20 meeting suggested it might be beneficial to the village to look into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Connect Communities program.

According to literature distributed at the meeting, WEDC’s Connect Communities “helps local leaders leverage the unique assets of their downtowns and commercial districts.”

The documentation further states WEDC “provides access to resources and networking opportunities to local leaders interested in starting a district revitalization effort.”

CDA member Robin Hoke will further research the Connect Communities program and report back on findings at a CDA meeting in the near future.

The information will likely determine whether the program is a fit for Union Grove and how, logistically, the village could move forward in seeking assistance.

In other recent business, the Community Development Authority:

  • Approved a request for new signage at Connolly Physical Therapy, 951 Main St. Union Grove-based Graphic Sign Shop developed the sign, which is in blue lettering and is accompanied by an image of a runner.

Connolly is operating out of a multi-tenant building. The clinic is located in Suite 120 of the complex.

  • Heard a report from Jenny Trick, executive director of the Racine County Economic Development Corporation, on the rent assistance and façade grants issued through the CDA.

In her update, Trick indicated the newest grant recipient is Greenlight Designs, 1012 Main St., which is receiving rental assistance.

Union Grove has been offering qualifying businesses loans and grants via the CDA since 2008. To date, $123,752 has been designated for façade improvements, and an additional $43,921 has been earmarked for rental assistance.

  • Continued discussing the future of the so-called Gorman property at 1313 S. Colony Ave.

“Discussions continue between the land owner and a business park developer,” Trick wrote in a memo. “Request for engineering assistance has been submitted to the village leadership.”

Trick, based on her conversations, said the municipal assistance could be offered through a variety of means, including site engineering, grant applications, in addition to road and other infrastructure improvements.

Interest in the Gorman property remains high, Trick said, though there have been other transitions throughout the site.

“The land owner has sold 2 to 3 acres of the property to a developer for a future commercial development,” Trick wrote in the memo.

Further discussion is anticipated at upcoming CDA meetings.

  • Discussed ongoing efforts to secure right-of-way land owned by CP Railway.

At the meeting, CDA member Larissa Gallagher reported $1 million has been approved to secure the railway land along a 13-mile stretch, running as far east as Mt. Pleasant to as far west as Vandenboom Road, near Burlington.

The stretch runs through Union Grove and is being eyed for a future bike path.

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