State Rep. David Bowen
Press Release

Supervisor David Bowen Praises ECD Committee Actions

Bowen Praises Approval of Sale of O’Donnell Parking Structure, Surplus of Community Correctional Center Building, Hammes Project

By - Oct 28th, 2014 11:56 am

Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen today issued the following statement regarding the passage of three measures, including a proposed sale of O’Donnell Park to Northwestern Mutual (NM):

“I commend the Economic and Community Development Committee for passing several items today that move our community forward while protecting the interest of the public:

  • The sale of O’Donnell Parking Structure to NM with new protections for public park use.
  • Determining that the former Community Correctional Center (CCC) building on 10th and State streets is surplus property.
  • Approval the sale of Block 6E at the Park East corridor to developer John Hammes.“All of these items move Milwaukee County forward and create new opportunities for the community and those we do business with. The O’Donnell parking structure sale will maintain the park land at O’Donnell Park while reinvesting millions of dollars of deferred maintenance on other parks. NM has the chance to prove their good intentions for public resources by maintaining the park as public space.“Designating the former CCC building as surplus will start the much-needed process to redevelop a property with much more potential than the current closed and under-utilized structure. The community partners around that property have a chance to work in partnership with Milwaukee County and honor the needs of the community.“
  • In addition, as the lead author of Milwaukee County’s Living Wage ordinance, I believe in working with all people in the community who seek to be good citizens committed to alleviating poverty. Good citizens like John Hammes, who serves in many capacities giving back to the community.
  • “John and others in the business community have an opportunity by ensuring all employees working directly and indirectly for their companies are paid enough to provide for a family, from the top to the lowest positions that fuel productivity. I’m sure everyone would agree that family-sustaining wages are essential for a growing economy in a community that seeks to build opportunity for all. I look forward to John’s future action, exemplifying his strong support for poor working people who seek a hand up to living wages. As a supporter of his project in the 6E Block of the Park East, I’m more than willing to help in any way I can.”

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One thought on “Supervisor David Bowen Praises ECD Committee Actions”

  1. Marie says:

    Mr. Bowen,
    Repeatedly saying the county plans to sell “the O’Donnell Parking Structure” does not make it so. The sale of the 9-acre O’Donnell Park includes 2 separate garden plazas (one open, one more private) and a public pavilion which houses a children’s museum, Coast restaurant, and a banquet hall, all with spectacular views. These facilities are bustling and O’Donnell is a popular site for weddings and special events. By framing the public park as a mere parking garage,it’s been possible to distract the public from looking closely at this sweetheart deal.

    As for NM’s chance to “prove their good intentions for public resources by maintaining the park as public space,” please read the fine print of the contract (and consider that the road to hell is paved with good intentions…) There is absolutely nothing that requires this corporation to keep the site as a park. New language only requires the county board to review the project if there is NO park or public space included in the redevelopment. They can do whatever they want with the site within days or years of closing, including offering an “alley” for the public to use to get from Wisconsin Avenue to the art museum’s iconic Calatrava addition.

    Milwaukee will reap far more in economic development benefits by keeping this park in the public domain, since public parks are proven to increase the value of all neighboring properties. If the buyer wanted to keep this site as a park it could do so by creating a conservancy or writing a contract that stipulates that the site must always remain a public park. They will not do so and the company will benefit hugely from buying this priceless site at a fire sale price.

    This deal in no way resembles Michael Cudahy’s foundation taking over the Pabst Theater for the public good. That deal stipulates that if the historic theater will revert to city ownership if the foundation ever wants to stop managing it. That’s a civic-minded approach, not crass opportunism. And what a boon the Pabst enterprise has been for the city.

    Please don’t help sell off a park available to all your constituents during your final days as a supervisor. When politicians renege on the public trust, the public is likely to lose their trust in those politicians.

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