Dear Village Trustees:
According to news reports the justification for Enhance Egg Harbor expenditures is that slowing traffic will increase the possibility that visitors will stop and shop in the Village.
I drive through the Village several times a day to get from my Village to my home or Main Street Market. Traffic and pedestrian crossings keep traffic moving at less than 25 miles per hour. Vehicles entering from the Highway G intersection also slow vehicle speeds even when there is little congestion. Compressing the Highway will slow traffic more and will further irritate visitors already frustrated by the Egg Harbor Village bottleneck.
Visitors typically come to tourist destinations for relaxation nature, water recreation and outdoor sports. Retail shopping usually occurs after these needs are met or during inclement weather. According to tourism zone data more and more visitors are renting private homes. The conventional lodging inventory is shrinking and the commercial lodging prices are increasing because of increased costs. The result is that visitors are bringing provisions, eating in their rented vacation homes and buying less in stores. There is now a surplus retail space in the village resulting in more restaurant seats, coffee shops, apparel stores and gift shops than are needed to serve available consumer demand.
It is tempting to compare Egg Harbor to other communities but the reality is that new businesses [are] developed in Sister Bay because of young entrepreneur descendants of their skilled parents and because of attractive property values after the recent real estate crash. Fish Creek has always been sustained by the campground sites in the park.
Egg Harbor suffers from a disconnect between its retail environment and lack of convenient access to lodging and residences at both ends of the community. How could anyone walk to the village from the Landmark or Alpine, let along conveniently drive? There are no sidewalks to serve north-side lodging. The effort to improve the visual ambiance of the village has been thwarted by the almost weekly appearance of tent cities and carnival attractions in Harbor View Park. Historic structures that could have encouraged visitors to stop and explore are regularly torn down or covered with new suburban-like facades. The proposals put forth by village consultants are not likely to overcome these longstanding physical limitations and a history of public ineptness.
For village retailers to prosper, the village desperately needs the nationally popular attractions that it has consistently rejected in recent years.
- A weekly farmers market that would restore rural authenticity and a connection to the surrounding rural community where an increasing number of visitors are being lodged.
- A major investment in heritage through funding of your historical society’s efforts to highlight the community’s many heritage assets.
Burying the power lines and some other improvements are great dreams that appeal to many, but are they cost effective? At my inn increased costs have already forced me to raise rates. Property tax increases will result in even higher lodging rates, lower occupancy and fewer dollars for visitors to spend in retail shops.
Please shelve the Enhance Egg Harbor project.
Myles Dannhausen, Sr.
Egg Harbor, Wis.