Ansay brothers give $600,000 for municipal center to be part of New Luxembourg Village Square
With very little discussion, the Belgium Village Board Monday unanimously voted to accept a $600,000 donation from Mike and John Ansay to build a Village Hall in the proposed New Luxembourg Village Square.
The board hired RLD, an architectural firm and urban planner, to design the structure for bids and oversee construction. The staff is working with Kathryn Ansay McCain on the interior design.
The Ansay brothers are also donating the lot for the hall, which will be on Peter Thein Avenue across from the parking lot for the Luxembourg American Cultural Center. The hall will be on the south side of the square, with commercial businesses on the west side, a community center and art gallery on the north end and the cultural center on the east side
Trustee Jeff Thiel said he wants to be sure there is enough parking for the Village Hall. A new design shows 10 parking spaces in front of the entrance, plus parking will be available on Peter Thein Avenue and east of the hall, Village President Richard Howells said. There will also be additional parking throughout the square.
The buildings in the square and surrounding houses will have the look and feel of a Luxembourg village with architectural features, narrower streets, smaller lots and homes and a large open space where concerts and other community events can be held.
A groundbreaking ceremony is planned during Luxembourg Fest in August with the hall expected to be completed by next spring.
Village officials hope the creation of the square, which will give a European flair to the community, will spur other developments, particularly in the tax incremental district, which includes the New Luxembourg development and Team Belgium industrial park.
All projects in the tax district must be completed by 2017. The district will close in 2022. Until then, the increased taxes generated by the development will be used to pay for the infrastructure.
The village has agreed to build a lift station when it is needed that would serve not only the New Luxembourg development but also other parts of the village.
Howells said 26 houses would have to be built to trigger the need for the lift station.
â€śI hope we do need the lift station,â€ť Trustee Jason Acevedo said at an April 20 public forum on the project.
â€śI hope Mike Ansay makes a ton of money and brings some of that money into the community.â€ť
To help spur development, the board also reduced its impact fees for parks and sewer and water utilities. The fees, which totaled $7,500 and were the highest in the area, were reduced to $3,600. That is the middle range recommended by McMahon Associates based on a needs impact study.
Acevedo argued that the fees should be the highest allowed, $3,900, saying he does not believe the fees have much bearing on a developer because the fees are passed on to the homeowner.
However, Chamber of Commerce member Laura Klingelhoets said that may be true for residential developers, but not for businesses and urged the board to approve the lower fees. She noted Oostburgâ€™s fees are considerably lower and its industrial park is thriving.
Trustee Vickie Boehnlein said she does not believe lower impact fees will do much to lure businesses to the industrial park on the villageâ€™s northwest side.
â€śThe reason Oostburgâ€™s industrial park is so successful is its location,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™s right off I-43. Itâ€™s difficult to get to ours.â€ť
Howells said Silver Beach Road from Highway LL to the industrial park must be improved to provide easier access. It is currently a narrow gravel road that is closed in winter.
That will be expensive, he said, but heâ€™s talking to adjoining landowners and Town of Belgium officials. Half the road is in the township.
At a recent Belgium Town Board meeting, officials indicated they will give the village its share of the road rather than pay half the cost.
â€śNobody has actively been pursuing businesses to come to the village,â€ť Howells said. â€śIâ€™m working on that.â€ť