The old adage holds that "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". It teaches us that what you have already is really more valuable than the objects that may require a lot more time, expense and risk to acquire. Apparently, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt has never heard of that old adage. How else can you explain the great lengths to which he is going to derail every effort to locate a Walmart along Broadway in downtown Green Bay?
Actually, Mayor Schmitt likely has heard it--but he sees Walmart as an ugly pigeon in his hand--and he firmly believes that a muster of beautiful peacocks are going to come out of those bushes and complete his "grand vision" for the Broadway District. Those "peacocks" would be the "mixed-use" developments with small apartments on the upper levels and boutique shops on the ground level--which for some reason have become the Holy Grail of downtown redevelopment in every city in Wisconsin. I'm sure there are some riverside senior living apartments rolling around in the Mayor's head as well.
I imagine Mayor Schmitt sitting at his desk all day going through his rolodex and calling every developer he has ever had contact with begging them to come up with some sort of grand development plan for the Larsen Cannery site. "I really need you to come up with something for me here, Larry. There's just so long I can keep Wally World at bay. Why don't you just come to a press conference with some pretty drawings and we'll pass that off as a great new proposal? That should buy me at least a couple more years to come up with something real to build down there."
Those calls would be mixed in of course with his daily correspondences with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's office: "Um, Hi. It's Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt again, still wanted to let the Commissioner know that Green Bay is all set to host the draft whenever he's ready to make that announcement. We have an arena and six hotels--so we should have no problems. Just let the Commissioner know that he can reach me anytime--I'm always checking my phone. OK thanks."
And the calls to the Vatican: "Salve. This is Mayor Schmitt in Green Bay again. Just wondering if the Pope saw the hashtag messages on Twitter about #popetogreenbay? You can also let him know that we are ignoring that atheist group wondering why I'm so obsessed with the Holy Father--so he doesn't have to worry about that when he comes to visit. Just pass along to the Pontiff that we are all praying for him to come to town, OK? Ciao."
It might be time for a little reality check at Green Bay City Hall that Walmart is the best offer the Mayor is going to get for that Broadway site anytime in the foreseeable future--and that he might be wise to take it--because I doubt many of his constituents have a "grand vision" of an empty lot for another decade and lost property taxes as well.