As Shorewood prepares to host a bicycle race,
 business owners say the BID is spinning its wheels


SHOREWOOD, WI. (July 6, 2004) –
Over the past five years, commercial property owners along East Capitol Drive and North Oakland Avenue have been assessed about $363,210 to fund the Shorewood Business Improvement District, or BID.

But many business owners operating in the district are frustrated and angry over what they perceive as a bureaucratic, unresponsive program that in some cases does more harm than good with the money.

Does this look like Shorewood to you? Does this represent the Russian cobblers, Shorewood Auto Repair or Benji’s Deli?

Documents obtained by from Village Hall by under the state open records law report that in November 1999, the Village Board established a Business Improvement District. Since then, the records reveal, property owners in the District were assessed $70,749 for year 2000; $70,423 for 2001; $73,038.15 for 2993; $72,880 for 2003; and $76,119 for 2004.

Where is that money going?

That’s what former Shorewood Trustee Tim Wick and his wife Lori were wondering in August 2002, they say, when they sent by certified mail an open records request asking for a list of “all income and expenditures from the Shorewood Business Improvement District for the year 2001 and the year 2002 till present [Aug. 13, 2002]. 

Did the expenditures increase District sales volumes? Did they attract additional business investment? Did they enhance property values in the Village commercial areas?

What is a 'BID?"

According to the Shorewood BID’s operating plan of 2000, “[a] business improvement district enables a mechanism for a commercial district to levy a special assessment to finance the achievement of common goal(s).”

 “The BID is dedicated to increasing activity and improving the image of the District. Staffed with a professional or volunteer manager, the BID will create a link between service, retail, civic and social activities. It is anticipated that these efforts will help increase District sales volumes, attract additional business investment, and enhance property values in the Village commercial areas."

“After the BID is created by the Shorewood Village Board, an operating Board composed of property owners, tenant business owners and other stakeholders interested in the business improvement District, appointed by the Village President, will oversee its operation.”

The Wicks have been waiting 22 months for an answer.

According to a March 15, 2004 letter obtained by, BID Executive Director W. Carl Templer, of Templer Communications and Consulting, wrote that a new “very aggressive” façade improvement program funded by the BID offers business owners: 

  • Conceptual design; working with a registered architect or qualified engineering firm to develop the possible new façade appearance options and will be funded up to $2,000 with the applicant paying 10% of the total.
  • Construction phase; the applicant will pay, on a 50-50 basis, up to $25,000 and program will pay an equal amount up to $25,000.

That sounded pretty good to Dr. Jagmohan Singh at Bayshore Veterinary Clinic, 4044 N. Oakland Ave. But Singh tells that “more than six months ago” Templer visited his business with a satellite photo of the property.

“He said ‘we have an architect who will make the plans for you.’ ” Templer has a list of four firms who “have agreed to participate with the Shorewood Business Improvement District Façade Improvement Program by providing conceptual renderings per the program parameters.”

In fact, Templer reported to the BID board that Singh was participating in the program, but Singh recalls a lack of response.

“I mailed the application and after a couple of weeks I called him and he said a board meeting was going to decide, and after the board decides, we’ll get back to you,” Singh told last month. 

“After a couple of months I called again and there was still no news.”

After interviewed Templer, Singh said the BID has responded.

Although the BID is set up to serve Shorewood businesses, none of the design firms listed as “participants” in the BID program is from Shorewood, although former Shorewood Men’s Club candidate Jeffrey Hanewall is listed with the Milwaukee firm Engerberg Anderson Design Partnership, Inc. Also included is John Curran, of Torke, Wirth, Pajura, Ltd., of Wauwatosa, where Templer also runs that city’s BID.

Templer said he had no business agreements with the firms other than their willingness to participate in the program.

Templer said he received no response to his announcement of the opportunity to receive Shorewood work from any Shorewood firm.

Although Templer reported to the BID board that John Nehring, owner of Sendik’s on Oakland, was going to participate in the façade program, Nehring said it was not worth the trouble to deal with the BID and he preferred to pay the entire cost of improvements on his own, as he has been doing. Despite Nehring’s unwillingness to participate, Templer continues to include Sendik’s on his list of 14 “Façade Improvement Program Interested Parties and/or Applicants.”

Of the list provided by Templer, only three as yet were certain to participate, he said.

Two of those are banks that own their own buildings. They are Northshore Bank, 4414 N. Oakland Ave., and TCF Bank, 4201 N. Oakland Ave.

These funds for improving façades will not come out of the $363,210 collected from the property owners over the past four years, but from and additional community development block grant of $312,000, raised through and targeted for the TIF 1 north of Capitol Drive.

Templer said the reason so few businesses had responded to date is that the funds just became available in January and façade work is not a priority in the winter.

But the problems are not just with the façade program, according to correspondence obtained by

In April 2002, Judith and Lionel L. Linden wrote that the Shorewood BID sounded like “they were working for the good of the district businesses.”

But when they had trouble with their landlord, the Lindens looked around for help and were frustrated.

“After talking with Carl Templer we decided to attend the next meeting and present our problem,” the letter to Dale Schmidt of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce said. “Aside from all the ‘oh no’s’, ‘We have to be sure they stay in the district's’, ‘We’ll do what we can to help you’s’ they did absolutely nothing for us, they never took the time to place a phone call, offer a suggestion or to stop in and follow up. We were totally surprised by their apathy.”

“I did attend several BID meetings trying to get a feel for just what they were doing and just what their function is,” the letter continues. “To this day, I still really don't know what their function is as far as existing businesses are concerned. I don't see what it is that they have accomplished within the district.

What I do see is a small core of businesses that seem to control the function of the BID. There is no sense of unity within the business community. I was at a meeting where the board was adamant that the BID would work together with the Chamber and that both were needed and then all of a sudden the Chamber was dissolved and the BID was taking over their functions. It is very hard to believe the Shorewood BID organization is working for the good of the entire business community.

“Now with the demise of the Chamber it leaves business owners like my husband and me feeling a real sense of loss.”

One business that has benefited from the BID’s image building is Templer’s own firm.

The June 2004 issue of M Magazine Northshore has a nice fluff piece that could not be better if Templer had paid for it out of BID funds.

 “In a nutshell, what he does is become the go-to guy for a business area that wants to rejuvenate itself or take the area to the next level,” says the article. “While Templer works in a world of BIDs and TIFs — Business Improvement and Tax Incremental Financing districts — each with its own arcane set of policies, rules and laws, in the end, his contribution is marketing, promoting, relationship-building and special events to make things happen. He describes himself as a ‘rainmaker.’”

According to the Shorewood Business Improvement District's 2004 Work plan, a tenet in its mission statement is to "promote and leverage dining and entertainment."

But in the article, which is for Northshore readers, Templer uses the opportunity to plug his other client, Wauwatosa’s BID.

“Templer sings songs of praise for area restaurants that are magnets to areas,” the article says.

“I don't think Milwaukeeans recognize the quality of food and the abundant diversity we have,” Templer is quoted. “If you haven't been to Bacchus — go! In Wauwatosa, very close to each other, are Jolly's on Harwood, The Chancery, Eddie Martini's, Joe Bartolotta and George Webb. All are great places covering every price range."

You’d think the director of the Shorewood BID, a communications and consulting professional, would plug his client in the Northshore publication.

But Templer apparently is promoting himself and the BID as much as or more than the local businesses, his critics complain, sticking the BID logo on the front of the Metropolitan condominium project on North Oakland Avenue. To the astonishment of some, he also sought to promote the BID through the Shorewood Men’s Club’s annual chicken barbeque.

Templer even had a BID entry in the Shorewood 4th of July parade, in which he marched.

But what’s Templer doing for Shorewood businesses other than his own?

He takes credit for putting together the Metropolitan project. But his logo on the outside construction fence is insult to injury to business owners like Bill Meinhardt, whose Shorewood Inn at 4473 N. Oakland Ave.  is up for sale.

According to Meinhardt and other business owners near the Metropolitan, some are losing more than $10,000 a month because construction has made already scarce parking harder still to find.

Templer is pushing his SHOREWOOD CRITERIUM scheduled for Thursday, July 15, from 4 to 8:15 p.m.

”Please join us for the SHOREWOOD CRITERIUM,” his advertisement says, “an exciting, professional cycling race for men and women to be held in the Village of Shorewood on Thursday, July 15.

“The Shorewood Criterium is one of 20 races included in the International Cycling Classic that is staged annually throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. These races attract professional racers from all over the world, and Shorewood is proud to sponsor one of the races for the first time in our community.”

Shorewood Criterium

In fact, the event will impact just three blocks of the Shorewood Business Improvement District – Oakland Avenue from Lake Bluff Boulevard to Wood Place.

It will close traffic and interrupt business, complains Tim Wick, of Wick’s Beer & Liquor. “How is that supposed to help my business?” he asks.

To add insult to injury, Templer is asking businesses to contribute between $1,000 and $3,000 each as sponsors of the event, to provide “preems”  (award money) for the fastest racers. The money also will be used “to cover costs for the event.

“Your logo will be included in all marketing materials. You can also advertise your business with a 3 x 8 ft. banner at the start/finish line for only $250. Sign up today!”

Why doesn’t this money come out of the annual BID budget?