Elkhart board sets new business stimulus goals

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The Village Board gave the Community Development Authority a boost Monday - $20,000 worth.

The board released the money, which had been set aside in the village’s 2012 budget, to the CDA after hearing a report from Lola Roeh of the CDA on the group’s goals and strategies for boosting economic development in the village.

“Our goal is to get as many businesses in this community as we can,” Roeh summarized.

That includes aiming for a net gain of two new businesses in the community before the end of the year, she added.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us because we’re at a net zero (for the year) right now,” Roeh admitted.

The CDA was established in 1997 when the village created the tax incremental fi- nance district for The Osthoff resort development.

It was created to help in the acquisition of land and redevelopment of property in the village, with authority to make loans to new businesses to help meet those goals.

The CDA has provided start-up business loans to 20 businesses in that time and has provided numerous facade and sign grants for businesses, Roeh told the trustees.

“It’s a small community and we have to support our own,” Roeh observed. “We need to make somebody who has invested in a business successful.”

The CDA has spent a total of more than $300,000 since it was established on loans and grants, all of which have helped increased total property values in the village by some $800,000.

She said the CDA has a current balance of about $14,000, with several loans being repaid. The village had budgeted another $20,000 for the CDA after the TIF was closed out earlier this year, but was waiting for the group’s report before releasing the funds.

Their efforts will be focused more on the Internet in the future, Roeh said, with increased presence on social media and a regular e-newsletter.

The CDA has also established a support team for new businesses, a “B-Team” made of established village business people and resources.

“If we can get all these things done we’ll be happy because we’ll be on the right road,” Roeh stated.

“I think in the last year, year and a half we’ve made great strides getting the chamber, tourism and the CDA all on the same page,” Village President Alan Rudnick stated. “I think we have some success stories. We just want to give new people a leg up.”

“And we would like to be ready when people come knocking on the door,” Roeh added.

The board approved allowing vendors on the north side of Rhine Street between East and Lake streets during the Farmer’s Market. That block of Rhine is closed off for the weekly event.

The trustees did add that booths may not be set up in the parking spaces along the street until after the barricades to close the block are set up at 10 a.m.

Board members agreed with Trustee Richard Sadiq that the north side of the street should only be used if needed after the south side fills up.

“I’d like to see this as an overflow, lastresort idea,” Sadiq said of using the north side of the street.

Trustee Lynn Shovan suggested that market vendors be allowed to unload their items onto the sidewalk before 10 a.m., then move them into the parking spaces after the street is closed, and the board agreed.

Trustee Steve Kapellen reported that the Protection of Person and Property Committee is reviewing Police Department staffing and job details prior to the pending retirement of current Police Chief Randy Boeldt at the end of the year.

“We did have kind of a general discussion of where we could save money or change the department,” Kapellen explained.

“It seems that Randy did run a rather effi cient department,” Kapellen added.

The committee will meet again Friday to discuss setting a wage for a new police chief.

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