Thursday, July 5, 2007

Greening Summerfest Long Overdue; Greater Lakeshore Access Still Needed

Whitney Gould at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finds the new leadership at Summerfest more than open to greening up the festival's dreadful, over-paved grounds.

That's good news. With the new Lakeshore State Park, the Calatrava museum addition and Pier Wisconsin all gracefully honoring Lake Michigan, Summerfest's carnival tackiness is like a broken tooth in need of porcelain cap.

Gould points out that Summerfest has made improvements, so her timely column is a helpful nudge in the right direction.

Now if the lakefront pedestrian walk were truly open where Summerfest shuts it off in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine - - something Summerfest does in violation of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Wisconsin Constitution of 1848 - - then the public, anglers and the growing number of downtown residents could have seamless access to Lake Michigan year-round.

Summerfest needs to go "green" with a better physical plan, and a more open and welcoming spirit that its lakefront neighbors saw as a requirement, not an option


Michael Pereckas said...

I particularly like the lovely barbed-wire fencing (and innumerable no-trespassing signs) that surround the compound as though it were a sensitive nuclear installation rather than (most of the year) vacant-shacks-in-an-empty-parking-lot.

James Rowen said...

It certainly can and should be more than it is.

If it's the front door to Milwaukee, and to which out-of-town visitors come, particularly for the ethnic festivals, then the grounds should look more like a park on one of the Great Lakes, and less like a used car lot.

Steven Nodine said...

There was a program recently on the sundance channel about greeing the Austin City Limits Festival. Here is a link to more info

I think Summerfest should follow suit. If any one wants to collaborate on getting the message to the Summerfest board and the Mayor let me know @


James Rowen said...

I don't think the Mayor has Summerfest board appointments anymore.

Steven Nodine said...

Not a very friendly nor useful reply. Do you know how to contact Summerfest Board members others who have influence? I'm talking about a Grassroots effort here. It may take some action on the part of citizens groups to get the festival on board with being Green. Milwaukee is sadly so controlled by big business boys club mentality, that change comes hard. Light-rail should have been in place 2 years ago. Scott Walker uses typical white Republican scare tactics leveraging the local talk radio culture to keep green/social initiatives off the table.

James Rowen said...

I'm not sure what you want from people like me.

I wrote this original post a year ago, and am glad to help spread the word.

I agree about greening Summerfest. It's a good idea. I supported it earlier. I was just suggesting that you not ask the Mayor's office to intervene because while it had influence at the board years ago, an entirely different arrangement is there now.

The DNR, as you probably know, operates a new state park behind and to the north of Summerfest. See what they might be inrteresting in doing.

There are condo associations and neighborhood associations within walking distance of the grounds.

World Festivals Inc., which manages the grounds, should be open to some innovation before this year's festival season. The CEO is Don Smiley.