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Residents request review of foundation agreement

April 18, 2007

A campaign is afoot to examine the financial disposition of the Chipstone Foundation, a civic giant located in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Wisconsin.

Fox Point residents who live near the foundation's headquarters, 7820 N. Club Circle, called on the village to analyze its long-standing agreement with the $66 million nonprofit organization during a Village Board meeting April 10.

The foundation, which operates a private museum at its headquarters, and village entered into an agreement in 1988. That agreement created a cultural overlay district for the Chipstone Foundation property and removed it from the tax rolls.

"The Village Board has an absolute obligation … to all of the tax-paying citizens of Fox Point. You are elected to serve all of your constituents and protect their property rights," said Rick Friedman, of 7800 N. Club Circle. "I think that the Village Board and Chipstone board should agree the 1988 agreement be periodically reviewed."

The foundation has made payments to the village in lieu of taxes since the agreement was established. This year, the foundation paid the village $20,868, according to village officials.

In 2000, the village and foundation entered into a similar agreement after it purchased an adjacent house.

The Chipstone Foundation supports scholarship in American decorative arts and culture through collections, education, research, publications and exhibitions, according to documentation from the foundation.

The foundation is the brainchild of Stanley Stone, the founder of Boston Store, and his wife, Polly. The couple began collecting American furniture, preindustrial British pottery and early American historical prints in the 1940s.

"I continue to believe that it is a great arrangement for the village and Chipstone," said Cissy Bryson, of 7272 North Bridge Lane, a close friend of the Stones, who has been a resident of Fox Point since 1927. "It permits the village to retain and provide a home for a singular treasure unequal anywhere else in the country. … It's been a wonderful asset to the village."

Foundation President David Knox opted not to comment during the board meeting.

Last month, the foundation withdrew a request for a permit to renovate its carriage house.

Brendan O'Brien can be reached at (262) 446-6602. His e-mail address is bobrien@cninow.com.

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