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Port Washington residents push back against potential new downtown development

The development looks to transform about two blocks of the downtown area. That space includes City Hall and the Old Theater Square building.
Posted at 9:39 PM, Nov 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-02 10:56:19-04

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. — Almost immediately after plans for a potential new development in downtown Port Washington were put out, residents started speaking out against it.

The development, from Shaffer Develops based in Mequon, looks to transform about two blocks of the downtown area. That space includes City Hall and the Old Theater Square building, and the development would be a mix of commercial and residential.

TMJ4 reached out to Shaffer for more information about their design plans, but didn't get a response.

Port development area
Potential development area

The city said it hasn't received any official proposals from the developers and said no action was planned for its Tuesday night meeting.

"It's someone else's idea that the city is considering," Mayor Ted Neitzke said about the potential of a proposal.

Even if there was an official proposal, the mayor said there would be several more steps before anything is set in stone.

But, just the potential of changing the historical atmosphere in downtown Port sits uneasy with many, like Erin Clancy and Jami Last who own businesses in Old Theater Square.

Clancy and Last joined about two dozen others on Tuesday night to protest the potential development plans.

Port Washington Downtown

"We've already put money into these spaces, we've all updated them to the way we want them for our suites to look on the inside. It would require a lot of resources and effort to move to a new location," Clancy said. She owns Erin Skincare.

Last owns Wild Rose Photography and doesn't know if her business would survive the potential redevelopment.

"I would probably shut down. Not completely because I could still do outdoor work, but I would lose a studio. I do pay a lower rent here... I know that Grafton isn't that far, but it's not Port Washington," Last said.

Terry Vincevineus was also at Tuesday night's protest.

"The lake is beautiful, the atmosphere is historic, and that's starting to change and that's very frustrating," Vincevineus said.

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