Hey, CDA: What About the Existing Marketing Plan?

At tonight’s Community Development Authority meeting, agenda item number 14 surprisingly calls for “Discussion and Possible Action on Community Collaborative Marketing.”

Perhaps this means a change to Whitewater’s existing community collaborative marketing plan. Our city leaders have been clear, for many years, about how to market the community. Indeed, other parts of the municipal government have sent an unmistakable message within and outside the city about Whitewater’s economic ethos.

Only recently, on February 12th, Whitewater’s city planner reiterated Whitewater’s long-standing approach, in an enumeration of regulatory expectations while discussing a change of ownership of a banquet hall that operates out of Whitewater’s American Legion Post 173 (https://vimeo.com/255625780 beginning @ 2:13 on the video). Here are some of her remarks:

The proposal is for conditional use to serve alcohol by the glass for a Class B beer and liquor license, this site has been a restaurant.  A change of ownership for the establishment no changes are proposed to the existing plan, traffic flow, exterior  lighting of the building, no information about hours of operation or maximum capacity have been turned in.

So it is my recommendation that we approve this subject to the condition use shall run with the applicant and not with the land, any change of ownership license needs to come back to the Plan Board, it needs to include the outdoor patio and balcony to be included in this conditional use permit, there needs to be security on site at all times (I believe that was in the last round), approval needs to be for Class B liquor license from the Alcohol Licensing Committee and Common Council (that has gone through but I would like to point out that it was on there), grease, oil, and sand interceptors (basically the grease trap) need to be kept in operation per Section 16.14.585 of city code, no modifications made be made to the site, in the event that there are modifications they need to come back in and pull building permits and so on, establish hours of operation just so that we can get them on record, provide the maximum capacity and proof of information posted on the establishment (this is for fire department), and then everything else is subject to the approval of city staff,  engineering, city planner, and any other conditions that you guys see fit.

Old Whitewater – a distinct demographic minority of the city – either regulates or subsidizes to shape the city as they wish, as they expect, and as they believe they alone are entitled. They have been successful in getting their message out – in nearby towns, and across three nearby counties, Old Whitewater’s expectations are well-known, or quickly become clear, to those who might move here.

Knowing as much, prospects often choose to go elsewhere.

Productive and creative prospects don’t find Whitewater’s traditional approach appealing, but that isn’t because of a flaw in Old Whitewater’s marketing – on the contrary, it’s the very goal of their messaging: their way or the highway.

One hopes that Whitewater will try something new, but it is unlikely that some of the same men who brought us here, after a full generation of the same approach, will change now.

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