Village of Pewaukee creates new TIF district
Public financing plan aimed at spurring development downtown

By Dave Fidlin - Special to the Freeman

July 16, 2014

PEWAUKEE — After several months of reviews, an economic plan aimed at spurring development in the heart of the village of Pewaukee is moving forward.

The Village Board on Tuesday voted 6-1, to approve a resolution that sets in motion the creation of tax incremental financing district No. 2. The boundary has been set throughout most of the downtown area.

A TIF district is a form of public financing and is used to pay for future redevelopment. The plan uses future gains in taxes to pay for current improvements.

Although it is not set in stone, at least a portion of the TIF funding could go toward redeveloping a blighted parcel at 125 W. Wisconsin Ave. Two companies — Siepmann Realty and Hexagon Investments — have expressed interest in building on the site.

Siepmann and Hexagon representatives have asked for village assistance in purchasing the property. They have estimated their development could be worth about a million dollars.

At Tuesday’s meeting, however, the board’s action focused solely on creating TIF district No. 2. Further mechanisms — including drafting a developer’s agreement — would be needed to bring any specific proposals to fruition.

Trustee Joe Zompa, the dissenter, said he believed development could be spurred in the area without village assistance as the economy rebounds.

“I’m very pro-business,” Zompa said. “But the issue I have here is debt. I think private money could bring a project forward within the next several years.”

But other board members maintained different perspectives and saw the new TIF district as an opportunity to add to the vibrancy along Pewaukee Lake.

“I really feel that the money we would use to develop (125 W. Wisconsin Ave.) and use to remediate the site would be well spent,” Village President Jeff Knutson said.

The parcel in question was once used as a gas station, and environmental clean-up will be needed before any new development takes place.

The village’s first TIF district was created in 1987 and closed in 2010. Funds from that TIF were used toward infrastructure work and revitalizing sections of the downtown area.

“From the one example we have in this community, it did end in a positive cash situation,” Village Administrator Scott Gosse said of TIF No. 1.

The resolution creating TIF No. 2 will go before Pewaukee’s Review Board on Wednesday for further deliberation and action.