Letters to the Editor


Kettle Park West could severely impact local stores

The economic impact analysis for Kettle Park West gives us a lot to think about. 

According to the report, one result of a Wal-Mart Supercenter coming to town would be a loss of revenue of between 5 and 25 percent for existing businesses that will compete with it, “particularly in such areas as groceries, hardware, electronics, pharmacy, and personal care products” (Courier Hub, Sept. 18). 

With losses of up to a quarter of their revenue, some of these stores will probably go out of business.  Imagine what Stoughton would look like without Pick ‘N’ Save, Jacobson Brothers, Cheesers, Yahara River Co-op, Asleson’s True Value, Stoughton Lumber, Radio Shack, and McGlynn’s Pharmacy, to name a few.  Some may survive, but it will likely be a struggle for them. 

Despite the incompleteness of the economic impact analysis, it shows that Kettle Park West will mean tremendous challenges for some of the local businesses that many of us love and support.


Wal-Mart shouldn’t be key to city’s development

I have just finished reading the most recent article, “Officials question impact analysis,” in the Courier Hub regarding the Wal-mart/Kettle Park West development.

I am so disappointed that our city is considering this as “a key component in their economic development strategy.” Is this the best we can offer our Stoughton High School graduates: a part-time, minimum wage job, with little or no benefits, at Wal-Mart? We have a business and industrial park on the northeast side. Our high school has a wonderful technology lab in which students are learning some great skills. Why not follow up on this and look for businesses that can use those skills?


Wal-Mart study oversimplifies city’s social, economic factors

I am not fully against the Kettle Park West Development.

I reviewed parts of The Economic Impact Analysis for Kettle Park West Commercial Development. It is clear that a lot of planning has gone in to the development of Kettle Park West. It could bring some nice additions to Stoughton as the city continues to grow.

However, the Economic Impact Analysis assumes a linear relationship between factors that oversimplifies more complex sociographic realities.

For example, the Economic Impact Analysis states that the average income in the Primary Market Area is just over $71,000 and further posits that these households have more resources to devote to retail goods and services. It is a flaw to assume that, because one may have expendable income, one will give it to Wal-Mart.

The analysis shares valuable information. We all must be careful consumers, however, of the conclusions it reaches.


Too many downsides in KPW study

I do not support the Kettle Park West Development.

From the beginning it has seemed rushed and secretive, two signs that far more investigation is required. Much more needs to be done.

I do not support providing Wal-Mart with millions of dollars of Stoughton’s money. I took a look at the consultant’s partial report. It states that the project will likely have these consequences:

“Potential negative impacts include:

• Some potential loss of business at existing retailers in the community from the expansion of Wal-Mart to a supercenter; the loss of business to existing retailers will vary in degree depending on the extent to which businesses have products and services that compete directly with products offered at the Wal-Mart Supercenter or other businesses at Kettle Park West.


Citizens deserve say on KPW study

Wal-Mart has twice tried to build a SuperCenter in Stoughton.  After a bruising fight, Wal-Mart withdrew in 2007. Recently Wal-Mart returned hiding behind a developer who kept the Wal-Mart name, with city approval, secret for 4 years.  

Round one no subsidy was requested. Round two before knowing the impact of the SuperCenter on the economy and businesses in Stoughton and surrounding communities, the mayor signed an agreement with the developer in the middle of the night approving the intent to create a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District and subsidizing the developer and Wal-Mart to the tune of far more than $5 million.

Now the city is rushing ahead to create another TIF district in Business Park North for the newly proposed Guardian Interior Glass company’s 204,000 square foot industrial plant. The 36 acre site is beautiful, on a sloping hill on the banks of the Yahara River and overlooks a county park.


Let Wal-Mart pay for KPW development

As a community we sometimes fail ourselves by not looking out for our neighbors.

To me, the proposed Wal-Mart expansion project, referred to as Kettle West, is one such expensive example.

Twenty years ago, as Wal-Mart arrived, our Main Street area was hurting. Huge amounts of money and time went to fixing our downtown. This included major street and sidewalk improvements, our river parks, the Yahara River trails and our Opera House.

We’ve made substantial investment in downtown and it’s paying off. The Opera House packs ‘em in. Storefronts have been updated. The trails are used and the new heritage center is nearing completion.

Downtown is alive and well. While some businesses closed, others opened. And should passenger rail ever run through town again, our downtown would surely thrive.

We accepted Wal-Mart in our city, and then created a big box ordinance.


Kneebone was a rare kind of person

Alder David Kneebone was a rare type of human being. He was a wonderful person with a great sense of humor.

I have worked with and talked to thousands of people in a long work and political life. There are a good number of people who understand what is going on, or not going on, in this crazy world of ours.

David was one of the persons who did much reading, listening and thinking. He certainly knew what was happening in America and on our local city council.

He had a very solid judgment of people.

Many people who know what is going on will not do much about it. They always have one excuse or another. Not David. He tried to make changes that are for the betterment of all. He was not afraid of speaking his mind.


More community discussion needed about sex offender release

I find it strange that there has been no discussion regarding the release of a “violent sex offender” into Stoughton.

It is not simply that this man has served his time and has come to live in Stoughton. He is still considered a “sexually violent person” and will have DHS supervision for one year along with a GPS monitor for life.

He has moved to a property in Stoughton that has been purchased by the government to house violent sex offenders who will be released from a Mauston facility. He is the only person there now, but there is room for more.

Over the last few years we have had endless debate in Stoughton over the addition of “big box” stores and a radio tower to our community. Yet, the purchase of a property with taxpayer money to house “violent sex offenders” gets a small notice in the paper on the day that this criminal is moving into Stoughton.

Who is paying for this house and this man to live comfortably in it?


Move to Amend aims to restore Constitutional rights

Opportunity knocks in Stoughton. Literally.

We are hoping to join many other communities to bring common sense back to our political system. We are relieved to find an issue that can bring us all back together. Move to Amend is a grassroots, non-partisan effort that protects our most cherished parts of living in the United States.

Do we believe that only human beings should have rights under our Constitution?   Do we believe that money equals speech? The Supreme Court (appointed, not elected) decided otherwise in 2010– they gave artificial entities the same rights that we have and the ability to throw almost unlimited amounts of money (hence influence) into our political arena.


Kettle Park West guarantee is too good to be true

City officials have been quick to point out that the proposed Tax Incremental Financing project for Kettle Park West (KPW) contains a “guarantee.” The guarantee is a $5.6 million credit line with a local bank that could be used if annual tax revenue falls short to payoff bond costs.  The guarantee is supposed to make the project safe for taxpayers, but is it?  

First, the city often fails to mention that taxpayers are also offering a $900,000 credit line for the project.  So, taxpayers are not fully safe.

Second, our recently completed study of KPW taxpayer financials (study to be available at prodane.org) found some chilling data that should be of concern to the City Council and all taxpayers.