Wednesday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 80. Sunrise is 6:16 AM and sunset 7:34 PM for 13h 17m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 60.6% of its visible disk illuminated.
Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 5:30 PM.
On this day in 1861, the Civil War begins with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.
Whitewater last had a large, standalone grocery store in December 2015. When that Sentry grocery closed, Whitewater’s principal source for groceries became the nearby Walmart. This lack of a grocery has been a chronic source of residents’ disappointment in the years since. Chronic: persistent, long-standing.
(While the loss of a grocer has bothered me less than it has many others, it’s obvious that it has bothered many others in Whitewater. If anything, bothered is an understatement of community disappointment.)
And so, and so, Whitewater had good news yesterday, in a press release that announced the prospect of an Aldi market on the west side of town:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: John Weidl
Phone: (262) 473-0104
ALDI Has Submitted Plans for a Grocery Store
Whitewater, Wis. April 11, 2023 – ALDI has submitted plans to the City of Whitewater for a 20,000 square foot grocery store on the west side.
Since 1976, ALDI’s number one priority has been to deliver great quality food at the lowest possible prices. ALDI is committed to making a difference in the communities they serve by offering market-leading wages and benefits for employees, using environmentally friendly building materials and stores to promote sustainability, and giving back to the community through product and financial donations.
The ALDI proposed location is the current site of Hawk Bowl and Hawk Apartments at 1380 and 1398 West Main Street. The property is zoned B-1 and does not need to be rezoned. The Pinnacle Engineering Group in Brookfield, which is working on behalf of ALDI, submitted plans for a grocery store on the site on April 10.
Chris Bennett, Neighborhood Services Director, shares, “Bringing a grocery store into town is long overdue. It is exciting to see it finally happening in Whitewater. A devoted standalone grocery store will be an asset to the community.”
The developer is proposing to demolish the existing structures, clean up the site, install stormwater and other utilities, and create two developable pads. The eastern pad will result in a 20,000 square foot ALDI store and, as proposed, the other developed pad on the west side will be retained by the original property owners for future development opportunities.
The City of Whitewater’s Plan & Architectural Review Commission (PARC) will conduct site plan review at their next meeting on May 8, 2023, and render its verdict. The site plan review is the only procedural matter ALDI must go through to receive clearance to build. Chris Bennett, Neighborhood Services Director, further explains, “During site plan review members of the Plan Commission will examine the proposed building for architectural integrity – it looks good and as it should – and ensure that landscaping, traffic, lighting, parking, street access and other factors are in line with city ordinance.”
Once PARC renders its verdict and accepts the ALDI design, then ALDI representatives will apply for building permits. Also, the City of Whitewater staff will begin working with the developer to outline an agreement to resolve the environmental contamination (asbestos) and redevelopment of the site. This agreement would then need to be vetted and approved by the Common Council, most likely in May or June.
The internal review by city staff will continue throughout the building process, with engineers and public works personnel ensuring the building and site are constructed in compliance with the city code. The ALDI plans are available for review on the second floor of the municipal building at the Public Works/Neighborhood Services counter.
John Weidl, Whitewater City Manager, shares, “Staff is unanimously supportive of this project for its immediate impact providing vital access to affordable food and long-term investment in the new tax base and jobs for the community.”
The City of Whitewater provides efficient and high quality services which support living, learning, playing and working in an exceptional community. Visit www.whitewater-wi.gov for community information and updates.
While I’ve never been to an Aldi market, they have a devoted clientele, and Dana McMahan’s review published at NBC News sees the grocer favorably.
There are steps yet ahead, including at Whitewater’s Planning Commission, but the prospects for a standalone Aldi look favorable.
The return of a grocery would be a benefit to Whitewater, overcoming a years-long retail deficiency in this small town. Aldi would prove to be a welcome addition to the community.