by Jean Scherwenka
Jim Plaisted, one of those people dedicated to making our communities the best they can be, was chosen as the new Executive Director of the Shorewood Business Improvement District (BID). Hell be working on behalf of the BIDs board of directors in areas of management, promotions and economic development.
Coming from the worldview he held in college and the one most of us embraced at one time or another those wild notions that were going to change the world Plaisted chose his niche and enjoys his involvement in repositioning neighborhoods. You can have more of an impact, a tangible effect, when you work locally in public service, he says.
For proof of that, take a look at the East Side. Plaisted has served as Executive Director of the East Side BID since 1999 and still holds the position with the East Side, the University Square and now Shorewood.
Shorewoods model is a little different, says Plaisted. He describes a liberal, progressive urban village close to everything (lake, downtown, UWM, freeway), that provides a very good school system. He sees this as an exciting time for Shorewood with the main focus right now on their master plan for the entire business corridor.
The Village Board and the Community Development Authority (CDA) just completed the process of defining rules and guidelines for developers interested in approaching Shorewood about locating a business or development in the Village. In the past, these rules were unclear. The working group of mostly volunteers, giving their time to guide the community, asked themselves, If were going to encourage development, what do we want it to look like? How dense do we want it to be? What kind of uses are we missing in retail? What kind of residential opportunities do we want to create?
Plaisted is impressed by the groups process. They went through this long, well-managed, and well-thought-out process. They did an excellent job, he says. Now theyll be opening their doors [to developers] and saying, Okay, come on in and hear our rules and guidelines. Were ready to work with you, if youll work with us.
During informal discussions with developers, Plaisted has found that theyre very interested, because they love Shorewood as a market to do some good things. Shorewoods got some missing teeth, he says. Just drive down Oakland Avenue or Capitol Drive. Hopefully, we can replace those with some good quality development that respects and fits Shorewood.
As executive director, Plaisteds job is administration of the BID as a whole and coordinating redevelopment efforts. In addition, BID Marketing Director Barb Caprile and Plaisted worked together this past year to put on four programmed events: An Art Walk held in the spring; the International Cycling Classic Bike Race in July; the Showcase Shorewood Arts and Crafts Fair in September; and the Holiday Shop Walk in December. Plaisted and Caprile are the two contact staff of the Shorewood BID, a very tight knit community, he says.
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Riverwest Currents online edition – January, 2007