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Newest alderman earns spot on economic development panel

April 29, 2010

The new District 8 alderman will represent the Wauwatosa Common Council on the Economic Development Advisory Committee.

Craig Wilson told the council members that "he was not interested in biding his time during the first half of his term" simply sitting back and observing." Rather, he wasn't to get involved immediately and saw economic development as an area that could really impact the city.

He convinced many of the other aldermen and won the seat 11-5 over Alderwoman Linda Nikcevich.

Nikcevich, who has represented District 1 for two years, said she's sees a lot of opportunity for development in Wauwatosa and that she wants to see attention given to maintaining the city's small business as well as developing large parcels.

She called this a "critical point" as the city looks to hire an economic development director.

Visibly disappointed by the loss, Nikcevich agreed to become the council's representative to the Wauwatosa Economic Development Council.

The WEDC basically folded last year when it didn't receive any funding and most of the board resigned. But the organization still exists and it has tasks that need to be finished, City Attorney Alan Kesner explained.

Recommendations by a third-party consultant about how to best structure economic development duties in Wauwatosa called for bring the WEDC as in house as the department's nonprofit corporate arm would provide a way to accept private donations, grants and review funding applications.

With an economic development director in place, WEDC could be resurrected in 2011 but the corporate structure needs to be maintained in the meantime.

In addition to Nikcevich, Mayor Jill Didier, Council President Eric Meaux and two members of the business community who did not resign would make up the WEDC for now. There is no set number of board members set for the WEDC.

In the short-term, the WEDC needs to act on applications by two local businesses for Community Development Block Grants, Kesner said.

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