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Oak Creek city hall and library isn't on everyone's minds

Mayor is more adamant than survey respondents on issue

Jan. 24, 2012

Oak Creek - Mayor Al Foeckler says the city's main government building and public library should be moved to the former Delphi Automotive site despite results of a community survey that indicate residents are ambivalent about the proposal.

"I completely support moving the city hall and library to the Delphi site," he said. "The city hall and library would be the heart and soul of a new development much like Bayshore, to be honest with you."

A meeting between city and Oak Creek-Franklin School District officials on the future of the Delphi site at Howell and Drexel avenues has been scheduled for Monday evening, but no location has yet been set, Foeckler said.

Survey and reactions to it

The survey, conducted by Cobalt Community Research, a nonprofit research coalition based in Lansing, Mich., queried a random sample of 1,500 residents in November and December, and 533 valid responses were received. That equates to a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percent, which, according to Cobalt Executive Director William SaintAmour, means the results can be relied on with confidence.

Residents identified development and taxes and the most important issues facing the city, and when asked which shopping or service businesses they'd like to see more of, restaurants was the overwhelming choice. And residents, generally, said there were too few community or cultural events in Oak Creek.

The survey also indicated that more residents who responded said it didn't matter where the city hall and library were located as long as it didn't impact taxes.

Foeckler said he was not surprised by the survey's results. "In talking with citizens, the overwhelming response I get is they don't care where the city hall and library are located," he said.

That said, the mayor said other responses in the survey - residents' concerns about development and taxes, as well as their desire for more restaurants and cultural events - indicate to him that a town center-style development at the Delphi property is needed.

"That all plays into it," he said. "There's always been a general complaint that there should be more restaurants in Oak Creek. I completely share that feeling."

Other survey findings

The survey touched on other preferences regarding city services.

It revealed:

Residents were more tolerant of user fees for ambulance, health and recycling center services than any other services.

Residents were more amenable to combining ambulance, fire and dispatch services with other communities than, for example, park services.

Residents were more favorable to outsourcing garbage and recycling services than fire, health or police services.

Overall, though, residents were satisfied with the level of city services and they viewed Oak Creek as a safe and enjoyable place for people of all ages.

"The bottom line is, the city did very well," SaintAmour said.

More detailed survey results can be found on the city website, www.oakcreekwi.org/results.htm.

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