Tag Archives: Milwaukee County

Approved: Oak Creek Watershed Restoration Plan To Begin In Early 2016

Oak Creek Parkway fall

What a watershed week for the future of the Oak Creek watershed.

In the past week, the South Milwaukee Common Council, Milwaukee County Board and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Board all approved intergovernmental cooperation agreements for the creation of an Oak Creek watershed restoration plan.

Next: The beginning of the planning process itself in the first couple of months of 2016.

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission will do the work, as it develops recommendations to improve water quality, recreational access and use, habitat conditions and targeted stormwater drainage and flooding issues. The status and future of the Mill Pond and dam will also receive special focus as part of the study.

It’s much-needed work that is too long in coming — about 30 years, to be exact. That’s how long it’s been since the watershed has received this kind of holistic planning focus. And I’m proud to help drive it.

Of course, patience is encouraged, as we take a long-term view in fixing the watershed.

The study will take more than two years to complete. My ask: Be heard, throughout.

There will be plenty of opportunities for public input, comment and reaction. In addition to regular meetings of a technical committee comprised of representatives from each watershed jurisdiction, there will be a number of stakeholder meetings for area residents, an open house and other chances to weigh in. More details to come on that early next year.

The study will cost $542,900, with MMSD contributing $280,000 of that — equal to the amount of watershed land mass in the sewerage district boundaries. SEWRPC is contributing $225,000 in-kind, while the remaining $18,950 shares will be paid by the City of South Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.

I have every confidence this will be money well spent, as it yields the information, science, context and road map we need to make decisions big and small in bringing the watershed back to life.

In other words, the work toward a cleaner and more vibrant Oak Creek watershed begins now. Dive in with all the partners who have come together to make this restoration plan a reality.

Let’s go.


Filed under City Council, Milwaukee County, Oak Creek watershed, South Milwaukee

Grant Park Updates: Oak Leaf Trail, Last Call For Beer Garden

Beer garden

A couple quick updates on the ongoing work in Grant Park …

  • First, I’m told repaving and widening work on the Oak Leaf Trail through the park is expected to start around July 13. It will begin near the golf course clubhouse and work north, with a completion date around August 20. The park drive may be closed for a short period during tree removal. This is a significant project that is long overdue — and just one of a number of upgrades planned along the Oak Leaf Trail and other trails throughout the region. Learn more here and here.
  • The traveling beer garden at Picnic Area 5 ends Sunday night. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with last call at 9. It’s been a big success, by all accounts, and sales are very strong. Now let’s work on bringing it back in 2016!

More to come in the park this summer, as Ferch’s Beachside continues to work toward its opening … stay tuned.

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Filed under Grant Park, Milwaukee County, Parks, South Milwaukee

County Budget Update: Money For Grant Park Trails, Oak Creek And More

County Executive Chris Abele’s budget includes some strong support for the South Shore and South Milwaukee.

Now, there are still lots of moving parts with this process as the Milwaukee County Board weighs the document and makes its own changes, but things look promising for our fair city.

Check out details on the proposed budget here. And County Supervisor Patricia Jursik has her take on it in her newly published newsletter. From the newsletter …

New for District 8

  • $378,500.00 is provided for remediation of the Warnimont Park site that has once been used as a dump site. Our ancestors did not always consider the consequences of using a natural ravine as a place to dump garbage. Even today, illegal dumping takes place in our parks. Please report any sighting of trash/ rubbish dumping of any kind.
  • $324,000 continues to be the funding planned for the Oak Creek stream bed stabilization in 2016. This must first be done before looking at dredging of the pond. However, the Parks Department is spending $10,000 to test the silt to understand if it is contaminated which would impact the cost.

Bike Trail Replacement

District 8 will benefit from $500,000 for Sheridan/Warnimont trail replacement which is still pending from 2014 projects plus a new $830,000 for Grant Park. Both projects should be done at the same time. Our trails are among the oldest in the system.

Bus Route Extension

Route 80 on Howell Avenue will be extended to provide service to the future Drexel Town Square. The City of Oak Creek has been requesting an extension and my office was proud to move this request forward. Our Route 55 on Layton will intersect with Route 80 at Layton and Howell Avenues. Bus riders can now connect to Woodman’s, Target, and Kohls in Oak Creek. In addition, persons 65 and older or persons with disabilities, with a valid ID or Medicare card, are now eligible for free-fare rides.

There is a public hearing on the budget at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3, at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I will keep you posted.


Filed under Milwaukee County, South Milwaukee

Grobschmidt Pool On Budget Chopping Block — Park Patrols, Too

Update: Or is Grobschmidt Pool not on the chopping block? The updated Journal Sentinel story says it might not be. I’ll try and get to the bottom of this. From that story … “Abele said the indoor pools were aging, expensive to maintain and not heavily patronized. Interim Parks Director John Dargle said earlier the budget would include closing outdoor pools at Grobschmidt and Jackson parks. But those closings were not listed in Abele’s budget.”

It’s official — South Milwaukee’s Grobschmidt Pool is on the budget chopping block. Can it be saved?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more details on County Executive Chris Abele’s proposed budget. From the story …

County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic said the tax levy freeze needed to be evaluated in light of the county’s huge service needs, as well as substantial deferred maintenance on county buildings.

“There needs to be a balance” between the goals of providing necessary services and freezing taxes, she said. The board added $4 million to the tax levy over what Abele proposed for this year’s budget.

She called Abele’s plan to close both of the county’s indoor pools and replace them with a skate board park and splash pad “basically offensive.” Abele wants to shut down pools at Noyes and Pulaski parks, as well as outdoor pools at Grobschmidt and Jackson parks.

Abele said the indoor pools were aging, expensive to maintain and not heavily patronized. Dimitrijevic said the more than 50,000 residents using the indoor pools indicated they are well used and said she’d gotten numerous phone calls and emails of concern since Abele’s pool plan was first discussed last week.

Just as concerning for South Milwaukee and our police department — the proposal to put park patrols in the hands of local departments. In a city where more than 20 percent of our land is parks, that’s a big deal, especially when I have my doubts there will be proper funding for this mandate.

Abele also released more details of his public safety budget, including a $1.2 million program to have local police departments patrol county parks. The City of Milwaukee would get the lion’s share — about $1 million for patrolling the lakefront and other parks in the city. Off-duty cops would handle the patrols and get paid overtime, if the city agrees to the plan.

The same idea was rejected last year by the County Board and opposed by Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., who requested 100 new deputies for 2014.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Filed under 2014 Budget, Milwaukee County