Dave Reid

Downtown Plan Gains Approval at Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee

By - Sep 16th, 2010 02:26 pm
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Lakefront Gateway

Lakefront Gateway

Department of City Development staff presented the Downtown Plan Update at the September 15th, 2010 Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee meeting.  Similar to the City Plan Commission meeting, staff presented the overall themes and the eight catalytic projects, which are geared towards increasing density and connectivity throughout downtown, whiles creating a sense of place.

Alderman Willie Wade raised a few questions pertinent to the plans catalytic projects.  In particular he asked how the plan would address the lack of a positive downtown gateway experience, and whether or not the city had weighed in on what to do with the O’Donnell Parking Garage.

Responding to Alderman Wade’s questions, Rocky Marcoux, Department of City Development Commissioner, explained that “the city has not weighed in officially” regarding the parking garage, but then spoke at length regarding the lakefront catalytic project saying the area near the garage, specifically the entrance way to the lakefront from the Hoan Bridge, is “a really disjointed presence.” He added that “we should be looking at the potential relocation of the bus terminal,” and emphasized the importance of this project stating that this connection to the lakefront attraction is “the piece that’s missing.”

Alderman Michael Murphy brought up the role of public art and its role in the plan. Greg Patin, City of Milwaukee Planning and Development Manager, responded saying it is an “integral part”, and that “we see that as one of the things we weave together.”

Pat O’Brien, President of the Milwaukee Development Corporation and the President of the M7, praised the city’s work on the plan, but raised some items.  He warned that the plan should focus development on the existing catalytic projects leftover from the previous plan, including the Pabst Brewery and the Park East.  Additionally he asserted that the city should be careful not to destabilize existing downtown projects, and that density is an important goal, but the projects should be prioritized. When asked by Alderman Murphy if his organization expects or want direct subsidies for projects he responded “that would be a good thing.”

The plan was passed unanimously by the committee and will now go before the Common Council.

More details on the plan can be found here.

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4 thoughts on “Downtown Plan Gains Approval at Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee”

  1. Jesse Hagen says:

    Priority One should be to get any valuable land away from the County. They’re proven time and time again they are incompetent at best and destructively self-serving at their worst.

    Is eminent domain a viable option for the city to take the Park East Parcels? or considering the state of O’Donnell Park and the Transit Center, are these also viable targets? I’m not joking, the city could get these parcels at reasonable prices and actually put them to good use.

  2. Tracy says:

    I am glad to hear that SOMETHING is being considered for the area where 794 exits to Lincoln Memorial Dr. That area is a persons entrance to our lakefront, and it looks horrible, further it is not a pedestrian friendly intersection, which is horrible considering the summer festival season!

    I hope the intersection, O’Donnell and that area are built up to match the grand scale of the Art Museum.

  3. Dave Reid says:

    @Tracy, Yes that is precisely the point of that project. The idea really is to make a connection worthy of the world class facilities, and that connects the pedestrian realm properly.

  4. CCMW says:

    I agree with Tracy, it’s so good seeing this area continue to improve. I know its all “artist renderings” at this point but it looks like this will be a good addition near the museum.

    NOTE: I adjusted the Commenter name as it was a bit of an advertisement:) – dave

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