Not Too Rocky a Road. So Far.
DCD Commissioner Rocky Marcoux's reappointment won committee approval, but what will the full council do?
The much anticipated fight over the reappointment of Rocky Marcoux as Commissioner of the Department of City Development didn’t quite materialize as expected at the July 17th meeting of the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee. Though that’s not to say there isn’t still a rocky road ahead for Marcoux as his reappointment moves on to the full Common Council. Past stories have suggested the council could be divided on the issue.
But not the zoning committee, it seems. Certainly, Ald. Bob Bauman made his concerns clear, expressing his belief that the Department of City Development is “in the business of delivering our future,” and Milwaukee is “facing two futures,” either Detroit or Portland, with Detroit being more likely if Marcoux is reappointed. Emphasizing his lack of support for Marcoux, Bauman stated, “I’m frustrated, I’m pessimistic, I’m actually depressed” about the future of the city and its lack of direction.
Responding, Marcoux stated, “I would say we do have a vision, and we are executing on that vision.”
Defending Marcoux, Ald. Willie Wade said his district had only $7 million worth of development in the years he sat on the Common Council before Marcoux was appointed commissioner, but since that time there has been $88 million of new development in the district. Additionally, he praised Marcoux for taking on the Century City project — the redevelopment of the old 30th Street industrial corridor on the north side.
Ald. Nik Kovac, who is not a member of the committee, sat in on the meeting and expressed some concerns, (while indicating he was reserving most of his opinions for the upcoming meeting of the full Common Council). Kovac said he was concerned by how Marcoux handles the process and transparency of development. When new developers approach the city, Kovac said, “I want the rules to be clear and as public as possible.” He went back to this theme multiple times, attempting to pin Marcoux down, asking if the city could make the “ground rules” more clear and specific. Addressing the concept of a specific and spelled out development policy, Marcoux explained that he doesn’t want to put a “formulaic” policy in place, because he thinks he’ll get formulaic proposals.
Marcoux’s reappointment was approved by the committee on a four to one vote, with Aldermen Jim Bohl, Michael Murphy, Terry Witkowski, and Wade voting to approve and Bauman voting to deny.