By a unanimous 7-0 vote at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Village of Windsor Community Development Authority adopted the community’s Redevelopment Plan for the 38.7-acre Windsor Crossroads project area.
Approval came after a public hearing on the matter, which was attended by about 10 people.
“The objective is to make better use of the infrastructure by looking at enhancing the neighborhood,” said Jamie Rybarczyk, executive director of the CDA and the villages’ deputy administrator/director of economic development.
Windsor is in the process of acquiring property in the area. The village has already purchased eight properties in the project area. It had already owned two, including the public works building on Depot Street and the DMB Neighborhood Center, plus Fireman’s Park, Sunset Meadows Park and a swath along Greenwood Drive.
Expanding Fireman’s Park is on the do-list as part of the Redevelopment Plan, as is converting a portion of the public works building on Depot Street for a new police station.
The village is also interested in seven parcels along Windsor Road for public or private investment. Hoping to attract new economic development, village officials are looking to lure smaller, mom-and-pop commercial businesses to the area, said Rybarczyk.
Windsor is also considering the locale for the relocation of its village hall. Of the 12 possible sites, four are in Windsor’s downtown area, according to Rybarczyk.
There is a residential component of the plan, as well. Windsor is seeking more workforce housing. Rybarczyk explained that local companies want housing in the community that’s “… affordable to their workers so they don’t have to commute so far.”
At the same time, there’s a van pool program used by 10-30 people that picks up people near DMB Neighborhood Center and takes them into Madison so they can get to their places of work, including the state capitol building and the University of Wisconsin system.
Rybarczyk said grant funding may be available to get more workers from the area to car pool into Madison. Right now, he said space is limited to expand the ride share program for the number of participants.
The demand for more indoor community space is another consideration. Rybarczyk noted that attendance at the recent Cookies and Crafts event at the DMB Neighborhood Center was over capacity at one point. The village also wants to create more parking to accommodate the van pool.
The Redevelopment Plan project area stretches along Windsor Road from around Depot Street to the west to just past Sunset Meadow Drive to the east along. It also goes up Depot Street to the north to just past Third Street.
On the south side of Windsor Road, it also encompasses Fireman’s Park and an adjacent area to the east of it. Possible improvements there include expanded parking.
Scheduled for 2022, the $1 million Windsor Road project will include a number of improvements, including adding sidewalk where it is missing in the project area and making sidewalks uniform with a 5-foot width.
Some in the audience criticized the plan. There were questions about what kind of retail space village officials thought would go in the area and whether interested small businesses would last there. The idea of having residents vote on it in a referendum was also proposed.
Some also wondered if eminent domain would be used to take properties from owners who didn’t want to sell to the village.
Village President Bob Wipperfurth said Windsor has no plans to use eminent domain. There are two types of eminent domain. One is friendly eminent domain, where property owners ready to sell do so at a negotiated price, and the other is forced eminent domain.
“We want to work the plan around not forcing people out of their homes,” said Wipperfurth.
The way it works with this project currently is property owners who wish to sell to the village must first contact Windsor to start negotiations. Wipperfurth said the village wants to work with people who want to sell willingly.
Questions also arose about whether the village was buying properties at assessed value. Wipperfurth said that only once in this process has the village bought a property as assessed value, and that was because the property owner was willing to sell at that price.
It might take some time for this all to come to fruition. The project’s termination date isn’t until 2035.
The next step is, the Redevelopment Plan and recommendation for approval goes to the Windsor Village Board on Feb. 20.