This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

So, Kevin, on a scale of 1-10...

Back in May, Oak Creek city officials, residents, and future tenants at Drexel Town Square formally kicked off the Drexel Town Square development, pictured above.  The 85 acre mixed-use site at the corner of South Howell Avenue and West Drexel Avenue in the City of Oak Creek is reminiscent of a traditional downtown. Drexel Town Square will include a Main Street anchored by a new Library and City Hall located next to a town square, surrounded by retail stores, restaurants, shops, hospitality, services and upscale residences.

Shortly after the groundbreaking, I received the following from a regular reader of my blog:

“I wondered if Franklin residents would ever have a day like this.  The City (of Oak Creek) is investing $30 million on their downtown.......$30 million.  I am curious on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most likely how confident are you that Franklin will see something like this in your lifetime?"

That’s a terrific question. And I’ve had almost two months to think about it. The easy answer is a short one. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most likely how confident am I that Franklin will see something like this in my lifetime? The answer is….

I moved into Franklin in 1992. That was over 22 years ago. Prior to 1992 there was little economic development in Franklin. When I first moved in there was a residential explosion with no subsequent growth in business. In 22 years I’ve seen no significant progress in this area leaving me little hope or confidence that in the next 22 years the pattern will be reversed. Whether intentional or not, Franklin suffers terribly from an anti-business climate and philosophy fueled by an urge to preserve the rural 1950’s atmosphere of the city’s earliest days.

So no, I have almost zero faith that Franklin will witness a shining day like the one Oak Creek experienced in May. Why or what in the world would me to believe otherwise?

OK, maybe that wasn’t such a short answer. But this question cannot be answered on a bumper sticker.

There is a new mayor. There’s, if not a brand new Common Council, a Council that is very green when it comes to experience. However, there are some encouraging faces that I think have the proper mindset to turn the city around when it comes to economic stagnation.

The aldermen collectively are finding their way. And Mayor Olson just got started. They need some time. However, that defensive argument has a statute of limitations and a brief one. We don’t have time to wait. Surrounding municipalities, especially Oak Creek, have us eating their dust. And I would caution the new city leadership to dump the thin skins. Heed what observers (like me) are saying and take action to, and yes I’ll use this overused phrase, move us forward.

So far, I’ve seen nothing to move the needle past 1. But I acknowledge it’s early. That acknowledgement will expire soon.


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