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Greenfield will get another look at plans for thrift store

Hearing on St. Vincent de Paul proposal set for April 2

March 18, 2014

Greenfield — Under orders to spruce up its proposed space for a retail store in a former Walmart building, the St. Vincent de Paul Society will present its revised plans at an April 2 public hearing.

The nonprofit organization wants to establish a store in part of the old big-box structure at 4500 S. 108th St. that is now owned by the Ridge Community Church, which occupies the south end of the building.

Last week, the Greenfield Plan Commission told the organization to sharpen up the proposed store entrance, to do something about the long blank wall that faces Highway 100 and to screen the HVAC equipment on the roof.

Sign of concern

"Overall, the design is quite honestly lacking," said Alderman Karl Kastner, who sits on the commission.

Mayor Michael Neitzke said the St. Vincent de Paul entrance sign should look as good as the entrance for the Ridge Community Church, which incorporated "some design and art" in its sign that sets it apart.

"It wasn't an easy thing and this side needs to look just as good," Neitzke said.

Society representatives were hopeful they could meet the Plan Commission's desires.

Second-hand questions

The store's appearance won't be the only concern heading into next month's hearing, which will be held in front of the Common Council.

A more basic question revolves around whether the city wants another second-hand retail store in the neighborhood, which already has a smaller one nearby.

That was a point of concern with the Plan Commission originally, but it didn't come up last week. And it's possible the public also won't share that concern.

If not, the Common Council could vote after the public hearing to approve a special-use permit for the store. Then it would separately consider site, building and landscaping plans. If those are subsequently approved, the store could move in.

On another path

The store's approval could help pave the way for something that is on the city's wish list: a path that would lead from the north end of the former Walmart parking lot down a hill to Kulwicki Park, where ball diamonds are located.

Such a path would allow additional parking needed for the diamonds, which are heavily used by Little League players. Currently, families often have to park on busy Cold Spring Road.

Representatives of St. Vincent de Paul told the commission the society is willing to fund the path.

"We agree we'll do what we have to do to help you get access to the park," said Michael Petersen a volunteer who helped represent the society.

Officials of the Ridge Church also agreed in principle to help.

The main stumbling block is liability. Though the city is willing, it can't assume liability because the park and much of the land on which the path would be bult is owned by Milwaukee County, Neitzke said.

The county has flatly said that it doesn't want to take on any more liability.

Regarding St. Vincent de Paul's role, the Plan Commission left that issue open — with the expectation that the applicant would include enough money in its landscaping security fund to cover the cost of building the trail.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: public hearing and possible Common Council approval of a request to establish a St. Vincent de Paul retail store in part of the former Walmart store at 4500 S. 108th St.

WHEN: 7 p.m. April 2

WHERE: Greenfield City Hall, 7325 W. Forest Home Ave.

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