A year after entering an into a one-year agreement with F Street Group and Rinka+ to explore the potential redevelopment of a fire-damaged community center along the shores of Lake Michigan, Racine city officials announced Wednesday that they are shelving the project.
A press release issued by the Racine City Clerk’s office states that the hope was to rebuild the Lakeview Community Center, located along Lake Michigan in Lakeview Park on the city’s north side, but rising material costs and interest have “created difficult conditions for development putting the Lakeview planning process on hold for the foreseeable future.”
“I want to thank F Street and Rinka+ for their efforts to reimagine the Lakeview Community Center. As a reminder, Lakeview Park was always going to stay Lakeview Park. While costs may be prohibitive right now, it remains a goal of the city to explore what possibilities exist to rebuild the community center for future generations to enjoy,” Mayor Cory Mason, stated in the press release, seeming to touch on controversy that had swirled around the city’s as yet unrealized plans.
Reporting by the Journal Times notes that while the plan did not call for any massive changes to the park itself, many residents feared the Project might result in a housing development that would ultimately obscure lake views in the five-acre park and along Goold Street, where many working-class homes enjoy views of Lake Michigan because of the undeveloped parkland.
Scott Laurie, founder of F Street Redevelopment Group thanked the city and Mason in the press release, for allowing the company a year to explore options for the battered and vacant community center.
“Unfortunately, the current market conditions with interest rates and costs of materials increasing creates real difficulty in producing a project of this type,” Lurie said. “Racine is a great community, and it is our hope that when conditions become more stable, we can re-engage with the city on this or other projects.”
Matt Rinka, a partner at Rinka+, expressed his appreciation for the “opportunity to engage and hear directly for residents about their concerns and hopes for the future of Lakeview Park and the Community Center.”
“Should the market settle we remain interested in working with the city to present options for the community center that we hope residents would be excited about,” he added. “There are many development opportunities in Racine and we continue to be interested in partnering with the city to explore those options.”