I wrote yesterday about a grocery in town, in a post entitled, Grocery Preliminaries. The post’s subject line used the word ‘preliminaries’ because it seems likely that Whitewater will get a new grocery, whatever one thinks of a public subsidy to entice one.
In this way, that post presumed a deal, and so was meant to be preliminary to one.
(Needless to say, whatever the challenges of subsidizing a grocery, it’s noting like importing trash into the city as a get-revenue-quick scheme. Waste importation is a truly bad idea, destructive to the environment, health, and development of the city.)
One of the conditions for a new grocery at the old Sentry location is that the university’s interest in the property (as a term of art and a general desire for expansion) be satisfied.
It’s worth noting that unpublished discussion of UW-Whitewater’s interest in the property has percolated through parts of the community for months; it’s not new information for everyone.
This only reinforces, however, the point from an earlier post, Informed Residents, about the need for open government.
This morning, many residents are sure to be surprised (‘the university has a connection to this property?’) and a few will be frustrated (‘why didn’t we know?’ & ‘is the university standing in the way of a deal?’).
These are merely elements of a transaction, and they could have been disclosed sooner. This community needs neither confusion about a project nor frustration with the university over it.
I know that open government seems soft and starry to some, but it’s neither. Open government is both a principled (as a right) and a prudent (as a practical) approach. It’s not in opposition to realism, but rather a higher expression of realism, embodying as it does the recognition that information typically wills out, at a higher price for the delay.
I’m sure we will get a grocery, and almost certainly with a public subsidy. That’s not what I’d advocate, but the proposal has obvious support.
We could (and can) have one, however, more smoothly than this.