Author Archives: Erik Brooks

South Milwaukee’s Top Gardens, in Pictures

Another Garden Tour is in the books, and the Mayor’s Choice winners are …

  • Grand Prize: The Webbs, 1013 Elm Avenue
  • Honorable Mention: the Chodkowskis, 1402 Marion Avenue; the Zinkiewiczes, 1515 16th Avenue; and the Maloneys, 1710 Cherry Street.

Well done, all! It was my toughest choice yet. All participants were deserving of recognition. South Milwaukee is getting more beautiful by the day, and these homeowners — all of them on the tour, really — are leading the way.

And thanks to the South Milwaukee Historical Society and Garden Club for putting on such a terrific event. It gets bigger and better every year, and that’s a credit to the dozens of volunteers who make it happen.






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Celebrating July 4th in Style


I’m proud of the work we’ve done to continue to build on our July 4th activities, and this year promises to our biggest one yet. Check out the schedule below.

And thank to you to our sponsors! Without these businesses and organizations, this event would not be possible: Max A. Sass & Sons, TASC Services, Ace Hardware, Mara’s Sewing House, Caterpillar, Nicholson Realty, Sprecher Brewing, Beer Capitol, the South Milwaukee Rec Department and Milwaukee County Parks.

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Headlines: Celebrating Character Education and More

Check out these South Milwaukee headlines …

For starters, I have no interest in Chicago being renamed “South Milwaukee.”

And South Shore NOW has published a new police blotter.

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Coming Soon: South Milwaukee Historical Society Canopy Talks (Including a 1932 Film Viewing Led by My Dad)

Mark your calendars for July 1!

Note: The July 1 event is at South Milwaukee City Hall, 2424 15th Ave. 




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Survey Results: Stepping up To Be Heard on the Future of Paramedics and Police

Residents have spoken, and the message is clear: You value our first-class fire and police services.

In all, 1,351 residents responded our recent community-wide survey on public safety funding. Thank you to everyone who filled one out. This feedback will help the city decide how to address our budget challenges moving forward.

The survey results were presented at last night’s council meeting. The presentation is available on the city website.

Highlights from the presentation include:

  • 88% of respondents indicated that maintaining the current level of emergency services is important to them and their families.
  • Three-quarters of the respondents encouraged the city to explore additional funding options to maintain the current level of EMS services rather than reducing services to balance the budget.
  • A majority of respondents support a referendum to increase local property taxes in order to maintain existing fire and emergency medical services and hire two additional police officers.

As I have posted previously, a continuing decline in outside funding for paramedic services – especially funding from Milwaukee County – has created a significant budget gap that continues to grow. The city must take action if it is to preserve locally provided paramedic services into the future. We have also identified a need for additional police officers to fulfill all of the department’s response and preventative responsibilities.

The question is, how do we accomplish that? That is where the survey comes in — making sure your voice is heard loud and clear as we plan for the future.

Again, thank you for stepping up.

Next steps: The common council will continue to evaluate the community’s feedback before making a final decision on whether or not to proceed with a referendum as part of the 2018 budget process. If a referendum is scheduled, it would likely be in early November. We will keep you posted.

My ask: Continue to educate yourself on these issues, and be heard. Your voices always matter.

As a reminder, the city developed an Assessment of Public Safety Funding Options to provide additional information on this issue.



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Reminder: Take the Garden Tour This Saturday

I was lucky to get a pre-tour of the gardens last weekend, and they are terrific.

See for yourself this Saturday, and check out all the terrific vendors on Milwaukee Avenue, too. It should be a fun day.

Learn more on the Garden Club Facebook page.


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Pedlets and Parklets: Making Possible a New, and Really Cool, Approach to Outdoor Dining

I love outdoor dining — and its potential for South Milwaukee.

Thankfully, we already have a few pretty cool options in town. I’m partial to Taco Stop and Azteca Restaurant, and what can beat Ferch’s burgers, custard and beer at Grant Park Beach?

I’m hoping that’s just the start, and that a couple new ordinances will lead to more outdoor dining opportunities in South Milwaukee.

Last month, the South Milwaukee Common Council passed an ordinance authorizing and regulating the use of pedlets and parklets.

Learn more on the city website. From it …

  • A pedlet is a structure that acts as a sidewalk extension beyond the curb line.  It is utilized to allow for a business to use the existing sidewalk as an extension of the business, and the pedlet acts as a new route for pedestrians.
  • A parklet is a platform which is located in the parking lane of the street, is at the same level as the sidewalk, and is intended to provide additional space and amenities for the adjacent business establishment and its patrons.

You’ve probably seen a parklet before, and, if done well, they are terrific. Below is one at Shaker’s Cigar Bar in Walker’s Point, which I visited on Friday. And the above pictures are from West Allis, which has been at the forefront of instituting pedlets.

Beautiful. Let’s bring this to South Milwaukee!

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