Author Archives: Erik Brooks

Updated Christmas Events Schedule

Still lots of holiday happenings around town, including a South Milwaukee Christmas Market with more than 110 vendors this Saturday and a special show at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center next week.

  • Saturday, December 3: South Milwaukee Christmas Market. Enjoy more than 110 vendors and live music, and meet Santa.9 a.m. to 3 p.m., South Milwaukee High School, 801 15th Ave.
  • Sunday, December 4
    • Breakfast with Santa. Santa will be at Pat’s Oak Manor, 1804 15th Ave., giving out stockings for the kids. Feel free to bring your camera. Reservations please at 414-762-4660. Cost is $8.75 for adults, $5.25 for children 3-1o years and $2 for children 2 and under. Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m.
    • Christmas Choir Concert. 4 p.m., Sts. Peter & Paul Polish National Catholic Church, 1308 15th Ave.
  • Thursday, December 8: Cantus: “We All Will be Together.” The premier men’s vocal ensemble in the U.S. comes to South Milwaukee. 7:30 p.m., South Milwaukee PAC, 901 15th Ave.
  • Saturday and Sunday, December 10-11: Ye Old Christmas Feaste. Pre-dinner music at 4, dinner (prepared by students) at 4:30 p.m., South Milwaukee High School. More details here.
  • Saturday, December 10
    • Live reindeer visit and photos. 10 a.m. to noon, South Milwaukee Ace Hardware, 1009 Marquette Ave. It’s one of a variety of activities Ace has planned for the Christmas season; other activities include tree sales, a “Letters to Santa” mailbox and a giant stocking giveaway. More details here, as Ace goes all in on Christmas — I love it!
    • South Milwaukee High School’s National Honor Society presents Santa’s Workshop in the Heritage Hallway at the high school. The free event for preschool to elementary school-aged kids includes cookie decorating, ornament making, crafts and more. 9 a.m. to noon
  • Sunday, December 11: Breakfast with Santa. 9 a.m., American Legion Post 27, 920 Monroe Ave.
  • Thursday, December 15: South Milwaukee Library Holiday Party. 6-7:30 p.m. Family fun for all ages.

Did I miss anything? Please contact me!

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It’s That Time of Year: Winter Parking Restrictions Begin

Winter parking restrictions are now underway, so be sure to purchase your parking permits.

From the South Milwaukee Police Department website

Winter Parking Permits

Cost of the permits is $30.00 per month or $100.00 for the entire 4 month season.  Any resident who wishes to park on the street between the hours of 3am and 6am must purchase a parking permit.  Alternate side parking rules also apply.  Winter parking is enforced 7 days a week.

Residents can purchase Winter Parking Permits at the Police Department Monday-Friday from 7am – 8pm.  There will be no permit sales, or citation payments accepted, outside of these hours OR on weekends and Holidays. 

PLAN AHEAD, get your permits early.  Parking permission will not be given because you did not have time to purchase a permit.   Get in early and get your permit purchased.

Winter Parking Restrictions

During the period from December 1st to March 31st, no person shall park a vehicle on any street in the City of South Milwaukee between the hours of 3:00 AM and 6:00 AM.

However, vehicles may be parked during such hours if a permit is obtained from the Police Department after the filing of an application and the payment of $30.00 per month permit fee, $27.00 if obtained after the 15th of the month, or $100.00 for a 4-month permit.

Any vehicle parked in accordance with the above shall only be permitted to park on the EVEN numbered side of the street on those nights whose calendar date before midnight is even (N and W sides of the street are even), *Where parking is normally permitted only on one side of the street this section shall apply.


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Planning for What’s Next at Caterpillar


We are being more proactive than ever when it comes shaping the future of South Milwaukee, especially our downtown. We have to be.

From our comprehensive and downtown planning efforts completed last spring to our new downtown grant program to our work on designing streetscaping upgrades to our ongoing study of downtown management/ownership structures, we are taking real action to control our own destiny in the heart of our city.

One more example of this: Work we’re contemplating around planning for the redevelopment of the evolving Caterpillar campus, which the company has said will shrink to become primarily a manufacturing facility in coming years.

We’re just getting started on this important effort, and a proposal from Graef Consulting to potentially develop design guidelines and a site master plan for the handful of properties coming available was first discussed at our Plan Commission meeting on Monday night. I expect we’ll see a more detailed plan for potential action in early 2017.

The Business Journal and Biz Times published stories about this work today.

As the Business Journal story noted …

Caterpillar leases the campus buildings south of Rawson Avenue from real estate investor One Liberty Partners Inc., of Great Neck, N.Y. An 86,391-square-foot warehouse on 10th Avenue is on the market for lease, or possible sale, to new occupants, said Pat Hake, Colliers International/Wisconsin associate broker who is marketing the warehouse building with Steve Sewart of Colliers.

In Colliers’ marketing materials, it also says four more buildings, with a combined 429,110 square feet of office and warehouse space, could become available to new tenants in 2017 or 2018. Those include the sprawling Machine Shop building and the corporate office building at the south end of the campus near Milwaukee Avenue.

In other words, even with a significant manufacturing presence remaining in town (the good news in this scenario), much of the Cat campus south of Rawson Avenue is coming available for reuse in the next two years. While I wish things were different — I’d much rather have Cat bursting at the seams, with employment levels similar to those at the heights of mining booms — this is an opportunity for us. We need to take it, and to play a role in shaping the future of that property.

We need a holistic perspective on what we want on the bulk of the site — and, just as importantly, what we don’t want. At the same time,  we need flexibility; we can’t overplan. We will make sure to strike that balance in whatever plan we embark on.

And we will avoid the alternative: sitting by and simply waiting for something to happen with perhaps our city’s most important parcel of land, just hoping for the best.

Much more to come.


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Stay Informed, and Safe: Sign up for the SMPD’s Crime Alert Service

The South Milwaukee Police Department has worked hard to enhance its communications with residents.

Led by Officers Hill, Shields and Fournier, they’re now active on, and they continue to share valuable crime fighting information via email alerts, where they now regularly share a list of calls for service.

To sign up for the email list, send an email to

This week’s update includes this item …

Please remember to lock your doors to help prevent theft. It is especially important now, with Christmas shopping, that you lock you car door doors and put packages in the trunk so they are out of view. If you purchase expensive items (TVs, computers, appliances, etc) consider not putting the boxes out at the curb, it is an advertisement as to what is inside your house. Take the boxes to the local dump to dispose of them. Also, consider having purchases shipped to your place of work, or other location where they can be received in person, rather than your home to help prevent thefts. Boxes left on doorsteps while you are at work are an easy target for theft.

I also encourage residents to sign up for Neighborhood Watch. Contact Officer Hill at for more information.

And here is the department website.

Stay safe this holiday season!

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Rest in Peace, Blaine Schultz


South Milwaukee lost a dedicated community servant last week, one who also left his mark on his employer, his church and the South Milwaukee Lions.

Blaine Schultz passed away at the age of 94 on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

Here is his obituary. From it:

Blaine was an active involved citizen, serving on the South Milwaukee Redevelopment Committee, SM Street Beautification Committee, and the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee and more. He was an election proctor for 20+ years. A member of St. John Lutheran Church in Cudahy since 1959, he served there as President of the congregation, on the Board of Elders, Head of Education Building committee, the evangelism committee, taught Bible study and was a lay liturgist. He also dedicated 49 years of active membership to the South Milwaukee Lions Club where he was awarded the Birch-Strum Fellowship, Presidents Award, named a Knight of Sight, Eye Bank transport driver and was twice awarded the Lions Club’s highest honor, the Melvin Jones Award.

Services are Thursday at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cudahy, 4850 S. Lake Drive. Please join me in offering prayers for the entire Schultz family.


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Toughening Our City Code, Giving our Police Officers More Options

One thing our new city attorney, Chris Smith, has focused on in his first six months on the job: working proactively to tighten some of our city ordinances to hold would-be lawbreakers more accountable and help our police officers better do their jobs.

Proof: Two changes to our municipal code passed at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

First, the council voted 8-0 to repeal and re-create Section 24.01 of the municipal code to adopt various state offenses as violations of our municipal ordinances.

Simply put, by doing what we did, police officers will now have the option of writing a ticket for various offenses, if the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office chooses not file formal state charges. These are the offenses can now be subject to municipal ordinance violations: unauthorized presence on school grounds, reckless use of a dangerous weapon, entry into a locked vehicle or locked coin box, identify theft and forgery, and various prostitution offenses.

Without passage of these ordinance changes, people who commit these crimes could face no consequences if the DA chose not to prosecute. Not anymore.

The council also passed changes to our ordinances requiring city licensees, including bar and liquor store owners, to cooperate with law enforcement investigation, or face penalties if they don’t.

In addition, the council recently passed changes to the truancy code that will give school officials the ability to recommend that a student be issued a truancy citation before the student is considered a habitual truant. This early intervention technique will stop students from ever getting to a habitual status.

I support all of these changes — reasonable enhancements to our code that may make would-be criminals think twice about breaking the law in our fair city. I thank Chris for driving this, in partnership with our police department, applying what he’s learned from other communities in how they approach these situations.

I’m told there will be more proposed changes to come. Good.


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Happy Thanksgiving!


I am thankful for so many things this holiday — family, friends, food on the table, a roof over my family’s heads.

I know it could be very different. We are blessed.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to lead this city. We’ve accomplished a lot, and there is much more to come in the days, months and years ahead. I’m excited for the future. But, for today, and every day, let’s be thankful for what we’ve done, together.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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