Key Riverwalk Project Held at Committee
Most of Milwaukee’s riverwalk system has been built as a public-private partnership as new developments occurred, but a file before yesterday’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development committee proposed that the City of Milwaukee fund a short section of the system. City staff determined that an 80-foot stretch along Erie St., between River Renaissance and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, is unlikely to see new development in the foreseeable future and therefore the city should move ahead to complete the Riverwalk. Alyssa Remington, stated the city’s position clearly, “we don’t anticipate development happening their anytime soon.”
The project prompted questions and concerns from committee regarding the apparent change in city policy for this project. Normally, the local property owner would fund 30% of a riverwalk segment’s construction, whereas in this case the city was planning to 100% fund the construction of the riverwalk segment. Alderman Murphy asked “Why are we changing our practice?” Remington answered that “we [the city] don’t want to wait for that development to take place.” She also explained that there will be no direct connection to the property from the riverwalk, indicating that the adjacent property will received no direct benefit. Alderman Witkowiak wondered if the city could assess the property owners much like the city does with sidewalks, and stated that this action would be “kinda sorta precedent setting.” Alderman Bauman, explained that “I support this project,” but pushed to hold the project to work out details regarding a possible assessment or the possibility of requiring the property owners to buy the section if they choose in the future to connect to the system. The file was held, and will be taken up at the next Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee meeting.