Greetings from the Office of the Mayor:
Summertime in Cudahy is a valued time where we enjoy many community, civic, and private sector events. The summer of 2016 was no exception with residents and visitors alike enjoying what Cudahy has to offer.
We are truly blessed to have a community involved with civic celebrations such as Arbor Day, Cudahy Historical Society’s Bike Auction & Rummage Sale, the 128th Civic Dinner Dance, Memorial Day, Fourth of July parade and daylong celebration, National Night Out, City Lounges City Limits Fest, Patrick Cudahy’s Race For the Bacon, Sheridan Park Friends and Friends of Pulaski Park Blue Grass events, and Cudahy Lion’s Club Sweet Applewood Days—just to name a few. Events such as these certainly add to our sense of community.
Business attraction and retention continue to be a major focus of my administration. I am pleased to report that both new additions at Patrick Cudahy are operational and have been constructed with additional capacity in mind. Additionally, the Squire Village Apartments are complete with a two year waiting list for people wanting to move into downtown Cudahy. CLE Haven Cudahy Assisted Living on Barnard Avenue continues ahead of schedule. Their phase two of construction should be open later this fall.
In January 2016, ground-breaking occurred for Layton Square on the corners of Layton and Kingan Avenues—a mixed-use retail/ commercial and residential development. Thanks to a mild winter, construction remains several months ahead of schedule. Although difficult to rent a building currently under construction, Bear Development informs us that interest remains strong. They are looking forward to an early completion and occupancy.
After the closing of the Tax Incremental Financing District #1 and the final expenditure period (which runs through 2021), the City and Department of Economic Development will continue to market other Community Development Authority (CDA) owned properties within the district. While signs that our economy have improved, it still takes commitment from the private market place to make development work.
Most recently, after years of lack of development in our Pennsylvania and Layton Avenue corridor, the City began a focused approach to facilitate development along this corridor. A statutory Redevelopment Plan was approved by the CDA in January 2016, and the City began working with true environmental information on that former landfill site. This allowed the City to meet with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to facilitate construction on that site. To that end, the City has received letters of intent and is finalizing purchase agreements for a fast-food restaurant and extended stay hotel (with an option to build a second hotel).
Construction on these first two buildings is tentatively scheduled for 2017. The City of Cudahy will also be putting in the municipal infrastructure during 2017 in this Environmental Tax Increment District to continue to facilitate this, and other development on the development site.
Structurally, we are an older community, therefore, we have created a business friendly attitude where your local government works with those who want to re purpose older buildings.
To that end, we have seen many existing buildings given new life here in our community over the last several months. The former South Short YMCA was purchased by the Federation of the Balkan Americans for the use as a physical fitness center, a very similar use to the former YMCA. In addition to this use, after holding public hearing before the Plan Commission, many other additional conditional and ancillary uses were approved for the facility such as sports leagues and tournaments, weekend and after school activities and clubs (basketball, swimming, soccer, ping pong, chess, etc.). Birthday parties and other celebrations centered on use of gym, pool, and sports fields, ACT/SAT and other educational courses and instruction, fitness, yoga, dance, music, and theatre classes and instruction, sale of pre-packaged snacks and foods, community celebrations and events will also be allowed.
In addition to this development, other establishments have relocated to various buildings within our community such as East Side Ovens (5344 S. Packard), PG Foods (3675-77 E. Pulaski), Joshua Kurpius Photography (3702 E. Barnard) and Temple Control Systems Inc. (6009 S. Kingan). While they may not be retail businesses, they are a testament to the vibrancy of Cudahy, proving that we are a community where businesses want to operate and locate.
The city has committed to continue to fix our aging infrastructure in roads, sewers and water lines. While State and Federal funding has continued to decrease throughout the years, we at the local level are committed to utilize and borrow funds responsibly to facilitate these projects.
A major milling and overlay project occurred during June of 2016 to provide new life to some of our aging streets. Packard Avenue, from Cudahy Avenue to our northern border, is having nearly century-old water and sewer lines replaced as part of the road reconstruction in 2017. Kirkwood Avenue from Grange Avenue north is currently in the process of a much needed reconstruction. The extension of Barnard Avenue (from Sweet Apple Wood Lane to Barland Ave), was combined with the Kirkwood Avenue project bid which resulted in significant savings on both projects. Going forward, the City will remains committed to fixing our local infrastructure. While the average age of the 58.5 lane miles is around 32 years, we have many stretches of roadway which have far outlived their useful lifetime and must be fully reconstructed.
It’s not often that a City has the opportunity to rebuild their main street. Packard Avenue re- opened in October 2015. The new plantings and finishing touches were put in place by our Department of Public Works this spring and summer. We have received many compliments from our residents and guests about the new look of downtown Cudahy. Our small businesses appreciate your support as our downtown continues to thrive. As always, I ask our residents to shop all of our local great Cudahy businesses!
The Common Council and other governing bodies have continued to remain active through the spring and summer period. In June, the City received our annual Financial Audit of all city funds and I am happy to report that our city’s financial house is in order. A copy of the audit can be found on the cities website under the Clerk/Treasurer page.
During the month of July, the Common Council approved and authorized the Mayor and Water Utility to submit an application for private home owners to have access to a loan program being administered through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, for lead water service replacement on their private property. Since a current replacement project is starting on the north end of the community on Packard Avenue, the City of Cudahy was notified that federal funds would be made available to residents within the project area. We are slowly learning the details of this program and are communicating this to the residents in the project area.
During the months of July and August, working with my administrative team and our city’s outside financial advisors, we identified several previously issued bonds on behalf of the Community Development Authority, City, and Sewer Utility which were available for refinancing efforts. After successful ratings presentations to both Moody’s and S & P, the Common Council awarded the refinancing bond sales on the evening of Tuesday August 16th netting the City a savings of $235,316 over four years on the Taxable General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2016D and $182,989 over thirteen years on the Storm Water Utility Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2016E. The City will continue to explore every option to save our citizens money and reduces taxes which include debt service payments.
In closing, as your Mayor, I will continue to advocate on your behalf to other taxing jurisdictions for support of our community. The City of Cudahy only controls approximately 30 cents of your tax dollar, the other 70 cents is taxed by other taxing jurisdictions. I will continue to run a cost- effective municipal government that provides exceptional services to our residents. Our community has a lot to offer. I encourage you to participate in the many activities and utilize the wonderful amenities of your community.
John R. Hohenfeldt