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Letters to The Platteville Journal for Feb. 3
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Main Street parking

Mr. Prestegard treads lightly when writing of the “potential” increase in traffic at the top of Main Street. A two-headed monster is about to be unleashed on the already congested, stoplight-addicted block between Pine Street and Main. To simultaneously tear apart two city blocks, separated by a tenuous two-lane street that carries the commerce of the city makes me shudder. Those in charge of the destruction and reconstruction are haunted with self-doubt as they contemplate the confused and convoluted task at hand. How to build a ship inside a bottle without the trick of deception is an exceedingly daunting task. There will be no easy remedy to unfurl the sails.

I fear a traffic clot in the main artery of Platteville will be a recipe for disaster. It will serve up a dish for Main Street businesses that will be more distasteful than flat beer and inflated pizza prices. There will be no room to move except to step on the neighbors. This stretch of road will be turned into “No Man’s Land” as the excavators lead a multitude of cranes, trailered skid steers, compressors, booms and lifts into battle. Reinforcements will continue to arrive with scaffolding, bricks and mortar, glazing, glass and stockpiles of metal girts and purlins. Can Mound City Bank provide the landing zone for the coming invasion? Even with the proven talents of the builders, how do you pull a building out of a hat? 

John Patakos says he likes to build things. I think Platteville would be better served if he invested in a sandbox in his backyard. 

The city council has aggressively involved itself and its citizens into questionable development. They have entered into the realm of speculative real estate while paying little attention to the concerns of those they serve. I applaud Ald. Ken Kilian for his reserve in making hasty decisions. As for the other council members, I can only speculate as to their motives. 

What Platteville needs is a mayor with veto power over a council that has run amuck. Let the people elect a leader to a three-year term. This will be conducive to an environment where issues are discussed in the open rather than in closed-door sessions that have brought us to a financial precipice. 

It’s been noted that Platteville will receive no financial benefit from the Library Block until 2032 and we have no guarantee that we will own the library. The purchase of the Boldt property puts the taxpayer’s fate in the hands of amateurs. 

If you agree with these words, let your voice be heard. Public opinion against city foolishness continues to grow. Recently passed parking regulations that allow building without adequate onsite parking will cause “Car Wars” on Main Street. The time to speak up has come; let your voice be heard or sit back and accept the consequences. Platteville will only be as great as the resolve of the people who live and work here. Don’t accept stupidity as the new normal. Get up! Voice your opinion! 

P.S. I appreciate the many words of encouragement. All I can say is any plafayette ette erceived damage to my livelihood is nothing more than water off a duck’s back. My concern is to keep the fly zone down Main Street open and accessible for other businesses to survive and flourish.

Eric Cleveland


Historic difference

In response to the Jan. 27 Etc., I beg to differ with your insights on the downtown and your comments concerning historic preservation. 

You mentioned that you would never own a building in a city historic district. On Oct. 27, 1999, Wisconsin Act 9 was signed into law where Wisconsin joined the nation in a comprehensive planning movement. This act defines criteria for land use planning taking into account all resources in the community, which also includes “the preservation of cultural, historic, and archaeological sites” as a resource and an asset. As a guide to follow Act 9, The Guide to Smart Growth and Cultural Resource Planning was developed, prepared by the Wisconsin Historical Society Division of Historic Preservation. 

The city of Platteville followed Act 9 in its comprehensive plan and followed the smart growth portions of that plan. Under this guide a Historic Preservation Commission and Historic Preservation Ordinance was recommended. By forming a Historic Preservation Commission and adopting the Historic Preservation Ordinance, Platteville was able to become a Certified Local Government. Becoming a Certified Local Government gave us access to financial funds and other benefits. 

There are also tax incentives (historic tax credits of up to 40 percent) available to the owner of a commercial building (income producing) when rehabilitating their property only if the property is listed on the State and National Historic Register not by just being “old”

The Main Street Commercial Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Being registered in this listing is an honor. It recognizes these historic properties for the cultural and historical contributions to our society. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 also affords these structures (as well as archaeological sites) protection from projects that threaten their integrity or existence. The National Park Service administers the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register maintains the list of districts, sites, buildings, and structures that have significance in the history of American culture, as a community, or as a nation. Again, getting back to economic benefits, listings in the National Register can make a property or site eligible for tax provisions, consideration of historic values in decisions, consideration in planning for federal, federally licensed, and federally assisted projects, and qualification for federal grants.

Ask any chamber of commerce about heritage tourism. Heritage tourists tend to spend more time and money in a community than tourists who visit an area for other reasons. Not only do historic preservation and/or restoration of its commercial buildings contribute to the community’s image, it also contributes to its economic development. On the Wisconsin tourism website I found this quote: “A community that accentuates its individuality will attract visitors who seek an experience they cannot find elsewhere.” 

Platteville adopted the Wisconsin Main Street Program, chartered by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, “a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that advocates for the restoration and preservation of the historic character of downtown while pursuing traditional economic development strategies.” (This is taken directly off of the Main Street Program website.) Apparently this program sees justification in protecting buildings in designated historic districts for economic reasons. 

A community’s image in general comes from its history, its architecture and its unique identity. Historic preservation and/or restoration of commercial buildings all contribute to the community image. Heritage tourism is based on this premise. Heritage tourists tend to spend more time and money than tourists who are visiting an area for other reasons. 

Wisconsin’s Main Street Program was “designed to promote historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in Wisconsin.” You cannot have a Main Street program without historic buildings. The Main Street program design guidelines not only promote new business developments, but façade improvements, and use this process to preserve the integrity of the historic architectural features in the district as a whole. The guide also indicates that any new developments respect and enhance the area as a whole.

Referring to your comment on what is “old” vs. “historic”, to get listed on the state and national registers, a building must meet one of four criteria. The Historic Preservation Commission follows the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation (under the Department of Interior National Park Service) as its guidelines to insure that decisions are consistent and have a clear basis. Again, these guides are to insure proper protection, workmanship and materials to preserve and maintain these historic structures. 

In addition, the repurposing of a historic building is often cheaper monetarily and ultimately more environmentally responsible than a total rebuild. It is also a fact that buildings in historic districts increase faster in property value than buildings not in historic districts.

The first keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, William Murtagh, said, “It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.” 

Kristal Prohaska


Why he’s running

On Feb. 26 there will be a primary election for the Platteville Common Council at-large vacancy to replace Ald. Mike Denn. His decision to not seek re-election will be a big loss for the residents of Platteville. Mike took being on the council as a way to make Platteville the best city in America to live in.

I also can help make Platteville the best city to live in and work in. I will do my best to make sure the city is getting more with less. If a street replacement is bid and the money is allocated, that should be it. If the contractor screws up after being awarded the bid, this should not be an excuse to raise taxes. 

The city is at 67 percent borrowing capacity. We are paying interest on these loans. The city needs to do more with less and reduce our overall debt. 

I am at my business at 785 S. Chestnut St. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Please feel free to contact me any time at 348-2210. Have any of the other candidates running for council given out their phone numbers and address? At-large means the person should represent all the people of Platteville. I give you my promise, I will represent all of your concerns. I will bring a new voice with experience running a business to the council and most important I will be a voice of “common sense” on your behalf.

In addition, UW–Platteville is very important part of Platteville and, as a member of the council, I will continue to support it so this institution can continue to provide the excellent education for its students it serves.

Let your voice be heard on Feb. 16, Primary Day.

Darrel Browning


The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters The Journal determines are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.