"Why... [make] our lakefront an even more inviting destination?"
This was an actual question posed by a community member on this website in response to a post covering the development of lakefront property. Why bother? Any advancement to the lakefront area will only attract more undesirable non-English speakers to our shores, right?
Here’s my thing (stop me if I cross a line but I think I’m on to something here) this town is dying. Wilmette is withering in the sun like a discarded husk. Have you seen this town lately? Eden’s Plaza had Boarders, it’s gone. Plaza De Lago had Crate and Barrel, it’s gone. The downtown area has a revolving door policy on new little businesses which open and fail before half the town even notices. And over at Linden Square, well let’s just say we’ve been busier.
Remember last Sunday when it was over 80 degrees for half a day? I used that beautiful glimpse of summer weather to walk around our town and evaluate the shopping districts. My discovery is that we are in real trouble of becoming a ghost town.
There is a giant hole in the middle of Green Bay road for crying out load. A giant hole that is now a village-owned standing pool of rainwater. Perhaps the most viewed portrayal of Wilmette is from a car window as folks drive up Green Bay Road. There they see a formally 24-hour convenience store, a former real estate office, and a vacant lot that for over 50 years was a Ford dealership. I’m not knocking the pet store they’re good people, but they need a little support.
The one place I wondered that actually had people; the lakefront. It’s a prime location. It’s the reason some people live in this town. We are conveniently located next to one of the most beautiful freshwater lakes on the planet. And three weeks out of the year it’s warm enough to swim in.
Due to lack of parking it is difficult to trick people into shopping in the down town area. Due to lack of attractions it is getting harder and harder to get folks to shop in the other three areas. People are already flocking to. I am not saying that the village needs to spend taxpayer money to facilitate increased attendance. I’m just saying that there is more potential capitol waiting to be harvested there than anywhere else in town.
Why make the lakefront an inviting destination? Because we won’t last if we don’t do something.