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Windsor swaps downtown properties for ‘backlots’

WINDSOR — An intergovernmental agreement and property exchange in the town of Windsor will place full responsibility for creating permanent parking on the downtown “backlots” in the hands of the town.

The Town Board voted unanimously Monday night to enter into an IGA that would swap properties with the Downtown Development Authority, now conducting business under the Windsor Downtown Alliance name.

The DDA and town each owned part of the triangular-shaped backlots, a gravel area behind the businesses on the north side of Main Street adjacent to the railroad tracks and south of Windsor Lake. It had been used unofficially for years for overflow downtown parking and for event parking when activities occurred at the lake.

The town and DDA jointly attempted to develop the backlots into a housing and commercial district. Voters, however, petitioned the issue onto a city-wide ballot, and voters  overwhelmingly determined that the backlots should remain as parking permanently.

On Monday, the town board considered deeding town interests in two properties in the downtown — 213 and 215 Fourth St. — to the DDA in exchange for the DDA’s partial ownership of the backlots.

As a condition of the swap, the town wanted to make sure that the Fourth Street properties be used either for DDA administrative purposes or be used for commercial, sales-tax-generating businesses for the next 100 years. It required a deed restriction as part of the deal.

“This has to be part of the deal in order to make the land swap acceptable,” said Mayor Paul Rennemeyer. The DDA didn’t object.

The swap will mean a future financial obligation on the part of the town when it determines it is time to pave and stripe the backlots. Because it will own all of that triangle, it will be on the hook for all of the cost.

Source: BizWest