The Philosophy Behind Better City


How BCS Leadership Frames Superior’s Challenges

Better City Superior achieved a 75% approval rating by voters in the November election last year, and since then the movers and shakers behind BCS have been gradually ushering this proposed development through the corridors of the State Capitol in Madison. Sources tell me that they are beginning to see some success in that regard.

A reader reminded me of this presentation given by Bruce Thompson, BCS leader, back in October of 2016 at the Douglas County Historical Society. At the time I did broadcast it via Facebook Live, but I neglected to post it to the ES blog. There are occasional audio lapses due to the internet connection when recorded, but for the most part the quality is good.

As we move closer to a successful campaign to make BCS a reality, I thought it might be helpful for Superior citizens to take 45 minutes out of their day to watch this video. Thompson gave this presentation prior to the November referendum and had no idea if the voters would support it.

In this video, it is apparent how sincerely Thompson wants to bring Superior to the next level. He approaches the challenges facing Superior from a historical perspective, as well as a human viewpoint. He discusses our need for improved housing, and how Superior can not only develop but also become a better city for everyone. 

First he explains the philosophy behind the ½% food and beverage tax, as well as the 2¾% on hotel/motel stays. Then he explains why Superior home owners are in an ever upward spiral of property taxes. This not only impacts home values in Superior, it also restrict new home growth due to the diminished ability of developers to recoup their investments on building housing.

Significant in his presentation is the balancing effect of bringing new development to the downtown that will also improve Superior in the area of housing and improved lifestyle. One of Thompson’s points is that in order to retain young people as both residents and employees within Superior, we need to improve the overall experience of living in Superior.

I’m not going to get into a treatise on supply-side economics (I’m not a political scientist…I only play one on the internet!). Nonetheless, Thompson makes a good case for the saying that “rising tides raise all boats.”

Essentially, the theory is that by developing the multiple vacant lots in our downtown into destination properties that will draw visitors and residents alike, Superior can create new jobs in the downtown, and enhance the lifestyle features of our community. 

Meanwhile, increased commerce in Superior thanks to the redevelopment of our downtown will further encourage the construction of new housing, as well as the renovation of older buildings into apartments.

A great example of that sort of housing redevelopment is the Lurye Furniture Building which is currently being completely restored historically, and will in the near future offer up to 15 market-rate apartments on it’s upper two floors. There is also movement towards building a 54 unit apartment building behind the Enbridge office building just off of Belknap Street.

In closing, I encourage you to watch this video in its totality. It is both instructive and encouraging in the tone set by Bruce Thompson personally and in relation to the Better City Superior effort.

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