Saturday, July 27, 2019

Milwaukee's new park on the water will shine. And teach.

Let's call this a meditation on what's 'obtainable,' and where.

I hope to see you Sunday afternoon at the dedication of Milwaukee's new Harbor District park: 
The public space, at the end of East Greenfield Avenue overlooking the harbor, will feature a water play area, water feature, public kayak dock and a shipping container play structure, according to Harbor District Inc., the nonprofit group overseeing the plaza's development...The events will run from 1 to 4 p.m. 
There  is much to like and learn from in this initiative.

* For one thing, it shows that there are ways to address the land and its relationship to people and other living things without poisoning, clear-cutting, filling and otherwise exploiting it for private gain - - multiple examples, here.

*  The new park will complement other programs - - like the always expanding Riverwalk,

The Riverwalk runner is headed down the Milwaukee River and away from its outflow  into Lake Michigan. Ths Hoan Bridge is above, while the Summerfest grounds are to the runner's right.
Milwaukee's three Urban Ecology Center sites, the MMSD's Greenseams activities, and numerous citizen/public-private partnership actions of all shapes and sizes - - which show that land preservation and water quality are urban values, too.

*  It shows again that landlocked-by-state-law Milwaukee continues to reinvent and reinvest in itself which adds value within its borders and to the region and state.

You wouldn't think it's necessary to make that last point, but there is much bias ingrained outside of Milwaukee about the city and urban living that always needs push-back and correction.

That bias takes many forms:

*  It comes out of the mouths of craven politicians looking for fear-driven votes: 

Oconomowoc Lake - Republican Gov. Scott Walker continued Monday to hammer away at his Democratic rival in the recall election, saying Wisconsin would be taking a major step backward if Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wins on June 5...People do not want to see Wisconsin "become another Milwaukee," Walker said.
* Here's a more recent example, just a few hours old: 
President Trump ranted Saturday morning on Twitter about an African American lawmaker by disparaging the Baltimore district that Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.) represents as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
*  It is amplified by other narrow-minded anti-city politicians who see Milwaukee as some sort of 'other' community separate from theirs even though Milwaukee is the economic and cultural engine that drives the state:
Republican legislative leaders are raising concerns about a plan in Democratic Gov. Tony Evers budget that calls for borrowing $40 million to replace lead pipes around the state — in part because they fear too much of the money would go to Milwaukee.
*   You'll even see it written into other communities' zoning codes and on their websites that explain themselves at the expense of cities - - like this one
The Village of Chenequa is located in the “lake country” portion of Waukesha County, about 30 miles west of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It completely surrounds the 703 acre Pine Lake, and includes portions of Beaver Lake and North Lake.... 
The Village of Chenequa was founded in 1928. The primary motivations to incorporate were to provide fire and police protection, and plan for the orderly growth of the Village while protecting the land and lakes.
Since its inception, the Village has been conceived as an exclusively residential community. Current Village zoning code states, “The Village of Chenequa…is intended to be devoted solely to residence purposes so as to afford to its citizens the peace and quiet and restfulness unobtainable in the City.” 
"Unobtainable." Really?  

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