Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Can Tosa seize a great opportunity?

city development, Wauwatosa

I just bought my own home for more than it's worth, and I'm not too upset about it.

How did that happen? About two days after I'd closed on my mortgage refinance, the city's reassessment came through. I'd requested a new tax assessment, knowing that I couldn't possibly sell the house for what the city thought it was worth. The assessor's office responded promptly, without fuss, and the new assessment came it at just about what I'd thought it  should -- some $40,000 less than the previous assessment and the real estate appraisal.

All these assessments, the tax appraiser's and the real estate assessor's, are acts of best-guessing by knowledgeable people. Essentially, they are well-researched fiction. Your house is worth what someone decides to pay for it. Right now, that's less than I want, and that's why I refinanced.

Refinancing was part necessity and part an act of faith. Wauwatosa is a great and hugely under-recognized value. Housing prices here never soared to dizzying heights, so the market "correction" won't be as severe as in other places. It's not going to get any cheaper to build houses. And as the cost of fuel -- and everything else -- keeps rising, close-in communities like Tosa  that have it all already will look better and better. The far-out suburbs are fast losing their sheen.

But are we proactive enough to make the most of the great opportunities to make Tosa the first place people look to live and locate their businesses? Take a look at Shorewood's website."At the edge of the city and the heart of everything" says it all.  Now look at Wauwatosa's. Ours is a good place for residents to get information. But it does nothing to "sell" the city. Nothing to engage the imagination or give people something that says "that looks like my kind of place."

I suppose what we need is a marketing campaign. We don't need to wait for new city plans to be in place before we start to show people that this is where the real center of everything between Milwaukee and Waukesha really is.

The question is, can our leaders see the opportunity to step up what needs to be stepped up (schools, green spaces, and infrastructure) and stride out to lead the parade of people and pocketbooks marching into Tosa?

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