Thumbs up to Bee Line property acquisition. The city of Janesville has been trying to buy this piece of riverfront property for years for its ARISE initiative. It missed out when a private firm recently bought it. Nevertheless, city officials are optimistic about the site's future. The buyer, Creative Business Developers LLC, hasn't discussed its plans with The Gazette, but the firm is reportedly planning to demolish the Bee Line garage at the site. Demolition could clear the way for a river walk, a key aspect of the ARISE plan, to extend from Racine Street to Court Street. A river walk should benefit nearby businesses by bringing to them more foot traffic.
Thumbs up to Friends of the Milton Pool. The pool at Milton High School has been a source of angst for years. Residents have debated whether to repair it or build a new one, and the solution is bound to cost taxpayers. It's uplifting to learn some residents are taking responsibility for solving this dilemma and trying to raise money for a new pool. The group has attracted more than 200 followers on Facebook, has created a board and applied for nonprofit status. The friends group is off to a good start by securing a $25,000 pledge from an anonymous donor, though it has a ways to go if it wants to get an eight-lane pool. Perhaps if the group can raise a portion of the funds, voters would be willing to put up the rest of the money via referendum. Hey, it's worth a try.
Thumbs down to Whitewater housing crunch. Janesville isn't alone in struggling to grow its housing supply. Whitewater also has the problem, perhaps compounded by the presence of a four-year university, according to a July 1 story by Gazette reporter Jonah Beleckis. This housing crunch, several years into an economic recovery, has befuddled economists. Local governments cannot do much about macro factors, such as interest rates and tariffs on Canadian lumber, affecting housing supply, but that doesn't mean municipalities are helpless. Whitewater recently formed a task force to study the issue, and it's made some progress attracting developers. To the extent a municipality can spur new developments, it should.
Thumbs down to illegal fireworks. Chances are those loud booms you heard on July 4 were from illegal fireworks. Some people obtain permits to shoot them, but most do not. People were shooting them off into the late hours, apparently unconcerned about being found out. These fireworks disturb not only small children. Pets don't like them, either. Plus, they are dangerous. State statutes allow the purchase of novelty devices—think caps, snakes, sparklers shorter than 36 inches and fountains that do not leave the ground—without a permit. Anybody firing exploding fireworks deserves to be fined, and we support law enforcement cracking down on illegal fireworks, especially when shot late into the night.