Thursday, December 19, 2019

County Board Committee meeting Tuesday on Kletzsch Park, river issues

12/19 Update: The office of Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman confirmed Thursday afternoon that the item regarding the construction of a fish passage, viewing stand and other proposed changes to Kletzsch Park was tabled this morning until the next meeting of the Parks Environment, and Energy Committee. That date is January 28, 2020, at 1 P.M.
You may remember that Milwaukee County continues to consider making controversial changes to Kletzsch Park which threaten historic lands for the installation of a fish passage and a public viewing area on the tree-lined west bank of the Milwaukee River.

Though the version of plan now under consideration is less destructive than what was originally proposed - - the modifications came after considerable opposition - - park activists call your attention to the plan's continuing deficiencies and urge participation in a key Milwaukee County Board Committee meeting beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

People are urged to make electronic contacts prior to 10 a.m. Tuesday, and/or attend the 1:00 p.m. meeting, though it cannot be predicted exactly when the committee will actually open the discussion.

Some participation suggestions:

* 1. Email your friends who also are concerned about saving Indian Prairie and Kletzsch Park, and ask them to follow your lead.

* 2.  Write an email to five county supervisors on this committee (list below) to voice your concerns. Make those contacts by 10 a.m. Tuesday. A committee list with email addresses in links is at the bottom of this post. Sorry about the spacing; coding issues I am still trying to overcome.

* 3.   Attend the meeting to voice your disapproval.  Come prepared with a short, two-sentence statement of your concern to read to the committee. Several issue summaries are below; express your opinions and concerns in your own words.

The meeting is at 1:00 pm - - try and come a little early - - in Room 201B in the County Courthouse downtown. In the meeting room, put your name on the sign-in sheet if you want to read your statement. 

The proposed project:
a.     Ignores the historic site. The county park’s plan not only does not honor but does not even acknowledge the remarkable site of Indian Prairie. From Sunny Point Road north to Good Hope along the Parkway were Indian ceremonial mounds, rare intaglio effigies, Indian burial mounds, garden beds, sacred springs, a canoe landing, and Menomini bark lodge villages.
b.     Not a last chance. Contrary to what the project team says, this project is not a “last chance in this generation” to put in fish passage.  It can be build later. There is as yet no provision for removal of the contaminants backed up behind the dam if fish passage is built, no provision for keeping out invasive carp, and the sturgeon are years away from spawning.
c.      Too destructive of the bank. Though less destructive than the first plan, this current plan excavates a large amount of the historic west bank potentially inhibiting fish spawning within the park.
d.     A slow kill for the oaks. The excavation of the west bank and the installation of sheet piling would damage oak trees which, though spared the chain saw, would begin to decline in five to eight years, taking hundreds of years from their potential life-span.
e.     Too hasty. The rejection of a less expensive east-bank fish passage was hasty. We need time to get an independent engineering assessment for east bank fish passage. (When last year the county’s initial engineering evaluation recommended demolition and replacement of the historic bridge in Lake Park, an independent firm hired by Friends of Lake Park showed that the historic bridge could be rehabilitated.)
f.     First, do no harm. To improve overlook and access to the river, begin with removal of the invasive buckthorn from the river bank from the trestle to the pavilion.
Committee members' contact information:

Vice Chair

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