OPINION: A Show of Hands in Greendale
I think we’ve all seen the flags at the corner of Broad Street and Southway waving in the direction of the district office and school board. The Veterans have made their point in red, white and blue.
On Tuesday night, the community will gather in the largest indoor venue in town, the Henry Ross Auditorium in Greendale High School’s Reiman Family Arts Wing. There, Greendale will vote about whether ownership of Parcel Number 663-0469-000 should be transferred from the School District to the Village. A yes vote will likely pave the way for a Veterans Memorial at the site.
It is a pretty big deal for our little Village and it might not be a slam dunk for the supporters of the proposed memorial site. Some do oppose the transfer for various reasons. Either way, the special meeting vote is a rare occurrence and it will be one for the Greendale history books. So, grab your popcorn.
Most people already know (or can guess) where the Village board stands. Trustees have been signaling to the school board this is a way to get out from under the loudest of their recent series of blunders. If residents vote to transfer the land, Joe Crapitto should probably send Village Hall a big thank-you card. He’s got enough on his plate with calling the shots for the school district.
People I have spoken to seem to trust that — given the opportunity — our Village trustees and Village Manager Todd Michaels would get this Veterans Memorial thing right. I’d bet they already have a plan that includes new sidewalks.
That vacant plot of land on the corner of Broad Street and Southway is unfinished business from Greendale’s infancy. Ownership has bounced from Village Hall to the school district and it looks like it could bounce back again on Tuesday, April 28. Fun Fact: A library was proposed at one time. That didn’t happen.
The last time that land was front and center, it was proposed that the school district sell it to the Greendale Community Church for an expansion of their facility and parking. There was a big firestorm (by Greendale standards) and the community gathered in the GHS auditorium and dramatically voted down the idea of a really nice parking lot at the corner.
The stakes feel higher this time around.
Tuesday’s meeting will probably look something like a school district annual meeting — with way fewer empty seats. I think it could be an interesting crowd and you’ll have to show residency to vote.
Someone will nominate someone else to be the chairperson (probably Joe Crapitto). District office usually lines someone up in advance to make the nomination — just in case. Then, there will be citizen comments and questions. Remember, the comments are timed. I’ve seen Park & Rec Director Jackie Schweitzer holding the stop watch at these types of meetings more than once.
According to a posting by the district, we then move on to an agenda item called, “Discussion”.
That might be a good place to tell the community where that secret “new, not previously considered alternative site” is actually located. Many people may already know, but I don’t think it has ever been public knowledge.
The apex of the night is in an agenda item the district calls, “Action”. That is the actual vote, folks. It is the time when the community’s will is heard.
The district hasn’t publicly explained the voting process. The last time, there was a show of hands. If it is raised hands again, some curious people will be watching to see when Mel Kuzmanovic, Vicky McCormick and John Comiskey lift their arms. Traditional media and groups outside of Greendale will be paying attention as well.
A vote by the electors is required by law to transfer the land to the Village. No matter how the final vote comes out on Tuesday, you just gotta love democracy in action. To view the agenda for Tuesday’s special meeting, please click here.