PORTSIDE

Big fish in a small pond

Howard’s non-existent downtown gets face-lift

Sketch+of+Village+Center%0AThis+sketch+of+the+Village+Center+is+what+the+city+hopes+it%27s+new+up+and+coming+development+will+look+like.+The+sketch+was+drawn+by+Vandewalle+%26+Associates+INC.
Sketch of Village Center
This sketch of the Village Center is what the city hopes it's new up and coming development will look like. The sketch was drawn by Vandewalle & Associates INC.

Sketch of Village Center This sketch of the Village Center is what the city hopes it's new up and coming development will look like. The sketch was drawn by Vandewalle & Associates INC.

Sketch of Village Center This sketch of the Village Center is what the city hopes it's new up and coming development will look like. The sketch was drawn by Vandewalle & Associates INC.

Drusilla Faikel

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Where Cardinal Lane intersects with Riverview in Howard, business is about to boom.

Labor Day 2011. Paul Evert and his wife Laura, move to the Howard Suamico area from Sun Prairie a small suburb in Madison.

Evert worked as a city attorney in Sun Prairie. Growing up in Madison, Evert always had a connection to government. He decided to seek a position elsewhere in his profession. Evert now works in Howard as the city administrator.

His current position as city administrator is not the only reason Evert was drawn to the city.

“I looked at the job [city administrator] and we were happy to discover they [Howard Suamico] had a good school district,” Evert says, explaining his reasoning behind the move. “Those were priorities because of our son’s age. For someone else it may not have been that big of a deal.”

Evert’s involvement in the city is prominent. He hopes to create a gathering place for the citizens of Howard.

One of the many projects on his agenda is to create a Village City Center, where people can gather and meet.

“Initially the idea was to have a central place in the village to make the Village have an identity,” Evert explains. “Right now if you ask people where’s downtown some people might say that it’s kind of where St. John’s, and Family Video are. Some people might say it’s Lineville. And some people might say it’s over by Velp. We don’t have that central gathering spot. That was the initial idea for the Village Center.”

The Village board also proposed a Tax Increment Financing. A TIF is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment. In the case of the Village Center, it allows builders and developers to create more infrastructure that is needed for the community.

Evert hopes that this TIF will offer the community of Howard what it needs.

“We really want to bring some high end multi-family apartments that you’d see in the Madison or Milwaukee area. We may even go to the board and ask the board to build them ourselves which is kind of out of the box. But, it’s so hard to get people to come up here and build nice stuff, from a multi-family standpoint without asking for a lot of tax payer incentive.”

Evert thinks they can do it through the board without having to give away all of the tax dollars.

“We are working hard on that right now.”

Despite only living in Howard for five years, Evert cares for his community. It is present in his work and dedication to his job as city administrator. He’s noticed something that many of us here disregard.

“The more you read, the more you find out that especially young people want to live in cool places.”

Evert points out, “They don’t want to live in a standard house at least not until they’re married and having kids.”

Evert also notes how one of the hardest struggles for people in our community it to attract talent.

“It’s the idea that you raise your kids here and then they move away,” he says, “It’s a huge problem. That’s why downtown is trying to do the same thing, trying to create a cool place for people to be attracted to. We’re trying to create a mini version of that.”

The Village Center will hopefully be completed within the next ten years. Until then Paul Evert and the City of Howard will continue to do their best for our community.

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