As Shorewood prepares to
host a bicycle race,
By GEOFF DAVIDIAN
The Wicks have been waiting 22 months for an answer.
According to a March 15, 2004 letter obtained by ShorewoodVillage.com, 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:
That sounded pretty good to Dr. Jagmohan Singh at Bayshore Veterinary Clinic, 4044 N. Oakland Ave. But Singh tells ShorewoodVillage.com 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 ShorewoodVillage.com last month.
“After a couple of months I called again and there was still no news.”
After ShorewoodVillage.com 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 ShorewoodVillage.com.
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.
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?