Village of Lake Hallie - Business Hwy 53
Posted: October 3, 2014
A rather large contingent of business owners and residents of the Village of Lake Hallie attended this week's public presentation hosted by the Lake Hallie Village Board and were not impressed by the alternatives for reconstruction of the 22nd and 27th Avenue intersections along Business Highway 53.
Since the Village of Lake Hallie was granted ownership of the roadway when the Highway 53 Freeway opened three years ago, board members have been discussing how to improve the existing highway and whether to add roundabouts at the busy intersections. Ayres Associates, the engineering and consulting firm that was contracted by the village for the highway project, presented two alternatives for each intersection. Both are more expensive than the village has to spend and each would involve property acquisition for right-of-way that would negatively impact Hallie businesses.
Although it's debatable whether the addition of roundabouts is a viable option for Lake Hallie motorists, the following businesses, among others, could be affected by road construction along Business 53: Kwik Trip Tobacco Outlet, Morrie's Mazda, Northpoint RV, Farm & Fleet, Heckel's Restaurant and Shopko. Depending on whether the village board moves ahead with any of the construction alternatives, the end-goal is to connect the east-west avenues with Commercial Boulevard to the north.
Since the Village of Lake Hallie created its first Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) District along Commercial Boulevard, a second TIF was established that encompasses property located east of Business 53 and west of the Highway 53 Freeway. Apparently, the village board has not been able to attract more commercial development to its second TIF because it doesn't have the necessary traffic pattern in place. So the question facing the board is, "Do we potentially alienate our existing commercial tax base for potential gains in the future?"
So, I was pleasantly surprised that a few of the members of Lake Hallie Village Board are willing to re-examine the long-term impact of making any major changes to existing Business 53. In fact, at least two board members went on record stating that the board should consider different alternatives that don't negatively impact their commercial tax base. However, since the village has spent an estimated six figures for Ayres' consulting work, it may be a tough sell for the village board to completely disregard the road construction options entirely.
In my opinion, it would be the best interests of the Lake Hallie Village Board to not move so quickly to make any improvements to Business 53 until the local business community is in favor of one of the preferred alternatives or some new option that is presented.