Saturday, February 28, 2015

Walker UW budget deletes protection for UW-M Downer Woods

Much of the open space on the UW-M main East side campus has fallen to the bulldozer, but now Walker's UW 'reform' budget deletes the promised and continuing preservation of Downer Woods as community space and park land - - and preservation of former Downer college buildings is deleted, too. 

What's next on the state/campus chopping block? If the Downer Woods can be sold off to a developer, why not Picnic Point, or the UW-Madison Arboretum? 

I'm sure the Walkerites would like to see a few hundred condos and a parking ramp in the Arboretum, and maybe an ATV rental agency, paint ball gun course and sports bar along Picnic Point?

Remember also that the Legislature, at Walker's direction, has given him the power to sell any state asset - -  up to and including the State Capitol building, with token participation by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance, the State Building Commission (also slated for a 2015-'17 gubernatorial takeover), and the Wisconsin Department of Administration - - all of which he controls - - and without normal public disclosure or negotiating procedures.

I'd catalogued many of the budget's attacks on the UW system's environmental programming and mission, but had missed this one. Mea culpa.

More about the similar impact on Walker's cuts at the DNR, too, here.

From the proposed budget document:

(p) Delete the following provisions related to the Downer Woods located on the UW- Milwaukee campus: (1) provisions requiring the UW-Milwaukee Chancellor to prepare and implement a Downer Woods natural area management and restoration plan to ensure that the
area of the Downer Woods designated as the conservation area is managed properly as a natural area; (2) provisions requiring that the portion of the Downer Woods designated as permanently reserved woodlands be set aside exclusively for the purposes of community enhancement and relaxation; (3) provisions permitting the portions of the Downer Woods designated as park and woodland areas to be used by UW-Milwaukee as recreational and aesthetic corridors; and (4) provisions specifying that the buildings of the former Downer college be preserved and may not be razed without prior approval of the Building Commission. 


ohbrad said...

How many signatures are needed for an involuntary commitment to an appropriate treatment facility?

Milwaukeean said...

And the historic Downer buildings!

Downer alumni and others need to see this.

babette37 said...

I'm horrified as a UWM alum and one who cherished the Downer buildings. They have already undergone so many changes. But they still are historic. And it would be tragic to lose them as well as the Downer Woods that was given to the university with the understanding that it would be protected as a woods and not build on. We have a duty to preserve it.