Sunday, June 17, 2012

County Grounds' Bulldozing Offers 'Development' Lessons

The irony is shameful - - digging up and paving parkland to construct buildings, parking lots, streets and apartments for a new "park" called "innovation."

We'd better learn something about who's doing what to our resources from it. See list at the end with familiar subjects - - iron mining, oil pipelines and the like, but first...

Eddee Daniel chronicles the loss of a big swath of public land as construction of UW-Milwaukee's new engineering and R&D complex begins in western Milwaukee County.

The backhoes and bulldozers have arrived and pipelines are being laid. Innovation Park is envisioned as an engineering research campus and business incubator. Despite some lingering concerns about the state of the economy as well as the fate of wildlife habitats, construction is beginning. The first phase is to install (taxpayer funded) utilities: water, sewer, power lines.
For the many people who have gotten used to walking their dogs on what has been a uniquely unbounded prairie landscape – if they haven’t been aware of the political machinations and financial deals that have led to this day – there may well be some shock when they first encounter these scenes. This is just the beginning. Once the utilities have been laid, work will begin on the roads.
Also headed for 'progress' - - historical buildings there.
When Milwaukee County made a controversial deal with UW-M so it could sprawl from the East Side of Milwaukee to a proposed research park on public lands in Western Wauwatosa, saving historic buildings there by famed Milwaukee architect Alexander Eschweiler was part of the plan.

I had my doubts about it in 2010:

And now, in 2012:

Four of the five historic buildings on the County Grounds in Wauwatosa would be demolished, with one building preserved, as part of Mandel Group Inc.'s latest plan to develop nearly 200 apartments on the site.
Can we learn anything from this? Can we change our practice, priorities, leaders? And the power of special interests?

Examples abound:

Expanded capacity tar sand crude oil pipelines across Wisconsin.

Waukesha waste water released into Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa.

Iron mining in the Bad River watershed.

I-94 Expansion at Story Hill, bordering cemeteries.

1 comment:

Dog Wa said...

More "development" from an external view means more cars and more congestion. If we think the traffic in that area is bad now - just wait. The highway and "freeway" proponents will view this as an opportunity to expand 100 even further. I avoid the Mayfair area as much as I can now. Searching for a parking space at Mayfiar is a 15 minute adventure.

Imagine if there was planning for light rail through this area. But no - the Republicons, yelling Belling,Sykes and that Vicki McCratchy have kept this area and Wisocnsin in the dark ages. Thanks to our Mayor for having the steadfastness to have a vision of a livable city.

BTW: Milwaukee is in tje running for the top ten river towns in the US. You can vote on Outside Magazine's FACEBOOK page. Please vote! See Paul A Smith's story in today's sport section.