Sunday, May 12, 2019

Downtown chestnut grove demolition a total leadership fail

The chainsaw caucus 'wins' a round and loses its legacy credibility. 

I'd included it in a recent list, but the Marcus Center's quick move to begin demolishing its horse chestnut grove oasis downtown just east of the Milwaukee River 

shows local political and cultural leaders haven't learned a thing or cared a whit for the environmentally-threatened world of 2019, or earlier preservationist bungles that left scars on the city.

Like others, this one is self-inflicted.

The Marcus Center had unveiled its a renovation plan just a few months ago. but the organization began the tree-cutting 

within hours of a Common Council vote Friday that removed one legal barrier. Why the rush, other than to pre-empt any further preservation initiatives.

Coincidentally, Milwaukeean Ed Heinzelman had left this sensitive comment on the 2018 piece in the link above - - 

I dig these plans except for tearing out the grove of trees on the south side of the building. one of the few authentically quiet spaces in downtown...almost feels like a sacred space. We have enough lawns...within view of the Marcus. Red Arrow Park and Marquette Park. Those are already underutilized as a few blocks away Cathedral Square. Leave the trees!
and I ran into him today surveying the damage

by local movers-and-shakers who didn't take his advice. 

I know Ed from his posts at Blogging Blue and he's on top of this very issue as we speak - - but had never met him. 

Small world, and one needing a lot more TLC.


Ed Heinzelman said...

Good to see you today. but this is a disaster for downtown Milwaukee. I was serious about this being a sacred space. the changes here don't make sense on any number of levels...sad to see...and their haste in cutting the trees indicates to me at least...that they know they are not being good civic citizens.

James Rowen said...

I agree completely, Ed. I used to sit under the trees during lunch breaks when I worked at city hall. The grove was serene, an oasis. tearing the grove down and putting in a lawn (!) is such an insult to intelligent design and stewardship fundamentals.