Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

The Slow Demise of Sydney Hih

Sydney Hih could be saved, a witch hunt on North Ave, UWM has a baseball team (?), and Alderman Jose Perez wins a game for the Brewers.

By - Jun 6th, 2012 08:18 pm
Sydney Hih

Sydney Hih

The Sydney Hih has a pending demolition permit, and is likely to be demolished in the very near future. At this point the only thing likely to at least delay its demise is if the buildings are awarded a temporary historic designation from the Historic Preservation Commission (which would need to be confirmed by the Common Council and Mayor) on June 7th. The commission will hold a hearing on a petition to award an Interim Historic Designation at 9 a.m.

In other news on the building, the iconic lettering was removed from the facade today. Local arts group ART Milwaukee is in possession of the letters and looking for ways to display them. We will have a full photo gallery of the letters’ removal tomorrow, as well as an update on what happened at the Historic Preservation Commission meeting.

We will be live tweeting the meeting at @UMKELive.

Pub Crawl Witch Hunt Continues

It’s a bad time for pub crawls in Milwaukee. Tavern after tavern on E. North Ave is getting grilled about their participation in such events during their license renewal (or new application) at Licenses Committee meetings. Last Friday’s committee meeting included a public flogging for Hooligan’s, RC’s, and Vitucci’s.  While I don’t expect this to actually slow down attendance at events like the Shamrock Stumble, I think you’ll see the bars distance themselves publicly. That will give them deniability about their involvement with the events, while still allowing the cash registers to ring nearly non-stop.

Instead of attacking the tavern owners for selling to willing customers perhaps a way should be sought to offer transportation to and from these events (if safety is indeed the issue it’s portrayed to be). I’m guessing the bars would willingly chip in for a school bus to take event attendees to and from other key intersections in the city, as well as pay for better cleanup and security crews, in exchange for the right to make money hand over fist without being hassled by their neighbors and the Licenses Committee.

Alderman Jose Perez Throws First Pitch

Alderman Jose Perez threw out the first pitch at Miller Park on Saturday night as part of the annual Cerveceros Day.  Unfortunately, the game wasn’t televised, so there isn’t footage readily available to critique the rookie alderman’s throwing mechanics. Rumors are flying that Perez also won the sausage race that night, racing as the Chorizo. And the Brewers won the game. I only took one statistics class in college, so I might be ignoring something about sample size, but it seems like the injury plagued Brew Crew should have Jose Perez at the stadium more often.

UWM Has a Baseball Team?

Did you know UW – Milwaukee has a baseball team? If not, you likely wouldn’t be shocked to learn their stadium is merely a field in a Milwaukee County Park. But you’d likely be shocked to learn they had three players drafted in the 2012 MLB Draft.

  • Jordan Guth – Junior – Pitcher – Philadelphia Phillies (9th Round, 308th Overall)
  • Eric Semmelhack – Junior – Pitcher – Milwaukee Brewers (12th Round, 395th Overall)
  • Paul Hoenecke – Senior – First Baseman – Los Angeles Dodgers (24th Round, 746th Overall)

Guth, Semmelhack, and Hoenecke represent the 17th, 18th, and 19th players drafted in the program’s history. It’s the first time the program has ever had more than one player drafted in a year, the first time since 2001-2002 that players were drafted in back-to-back years, and the highest overall selection (Craig Scheffler was drafted in the 12th round in 1993) in UWM team history.

Turns out we should all pay a bit more attention to who is wearing black at Lincoln Park’s Henry Aaron Field.

Strip Club Fails at Committee, We Try Live Coverage with Twitter

Silk East, a gentleman’s club proposal for 730 N. Old World Third St, was voted down at the Licenses Committee last Friday. The traditional media outlets were all over covering the rejection, so there isn’t a need to revisit that here. We did, however, live tweet the meeting as it happened for those that didn’t want to watch or attend the hearing that lasted over four hours. You can read the transcript, and follow our new Twitter account (@UMKELive), if you want to see how things went down. Tweets marked with “-JJ” are from me, “-dr” is Dave Reid. If you have other ideas on how to expand our live coverage of events, let us know.

Take Two for Residences on Water, Staybridge Suites

The city’s most visible sign of the recession — the long, uncompleted Residences on Water – Staybridge Suites hotel and condominium development — finally has a new owner who is likely to finish its construction.  After the auction set for May 8th was postponed, the building was finally auctioned on May 31st. The buyer is the firm that holds the majority of the remaining mortgage on the foreclosed property, 2010-1 SFG Venture, LLC. The auction lasted 11 hours and took 29 rounds of bidding, but that’s extremely quick for a structure that saw construction stop in the winter of 2008-09. The building, which we’ve dubbed the world’s largest Qdoba, is located at the corner of Juneau Ave and Water St.

First Graduate from the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences

Mike Pagel has earned a Master of Science degree in Freshwater Sciences and Technology, which is noteworthy as he is the first graduate of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS). He entered the program in 2010 and is the first graduate of the school. While it’s unfortunate that he intends to move to Washington D.C. to work in environmental compliance in the energy industry, Pagel is hopefully only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to locally produced experts in freshwater. Graduates of the UWM SFS are a key part of the effort to create a sizable cluster of water-related industries in Milwaukee. Another key is the Milwaukee Water Council’s development of a Water Accelerator in a seven-story building located at 223 W. Pittsburgh Ave in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.

Another Day, Another Donovan Anti-Streetcar Declaration

Alderman Bob Donovan issued yet another press release on the Milwaukee Streetcar (release, referenced report). I won’t dwell on his misguided efforts to kill the project, but just note my prediction that Donovan would issue press release after press release on the issue, and he’s done just that. I also predicted he would be less interested in the issue once the recall election is over; we’ll see how that forecast plays out.

Bicycle Event Coordination Needed – Please

What sense does it make to have marquee cycling events on the same day? Bicycling is undoubtedly on a big upswing in Wisconsin, and the number and quality of cycling events is following suit. Unfortunately for those of us who like to take part in as many cycling events as possible, we seem to have a number of exciting events happening the same weekend and even the same day.

Tour de Farce, an annual bicycle pub pedal (and the least attended of the three events) kicked off the weekend on Saturday night in Bay View. The following day featured two marquee events on opposite sides of the state. In Milwaukee, cyclists had the chance to raise money for the arts while biking over the Hoan Bridge as part of the UPAF Ride for the Arts (~7,000 riders in 2011). In Madison, cyclists had the chance to take part in Ride the Drive Downtown (over 20,000 attendees), an event that opened a nearly five mile loop of roads only to cyclists and pedestrians from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Astute readers will point out that there is a second Ride the Drive event later in the summer, but that doesn’t stop the cannibilization of riders from the events that overlap in June.

I don’t know who should blink first, but how about a switch of dates for one of these marque events. Some of  us would like to go to both events.

Congress for the New Urbanism 20 Webcasts Online

Want to know what leaders of the new urbanism movement are thinking without having to go to the annual conference? Now you can, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has made a number of the sessions from their latest conference available for free. The latest Congress was held from May 9th to 12th in West Palm Becah, Florida. Stream away.

A Parks District for Milwaukee?

Should the park system remain under the control of Milwaukee County government? Dan Cody, President of The Park People of Milwaukee County and recent candidate for Milwaukee County Supervisor, argues that we should return to a Parks Commission model of governance. He recently posted the full, un-edited version of a letter to the editor he submitted to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on his blog. Cody argues that Milwaukee County has one of the few major park systems in the county that isn’t operated by an independent commission, and that we suffer because of that. I tend to agree.

Real Election Winner – Sonya Jongsma-Knauss

We held a contest on our Facebook page regarding voter turnout in the City of Milwaukee.  The final number according to the City of Milwaukee Election Commission is 73.14%. Out of 32 total guesses, Sonya Jongsma-Knauss came closest to the mark with a guess of 72%. Everyone who guessed was fairly close, with an average guess of 65.975%. In addition to the priceless shout-out in this column, Sonya will also receive a set of three Urban Milwaukee: The Store Milwaukee postcards.

Like us on Facebook to participate in future contests.

Categories: Eyes on Milwaukee

8 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: The Slow Demise of Sydney Hih”

  1. Tyrell Track Master says:

    Another great dispatch!

    Gang – the streetcar situation needs a serious look. I would *guarantee* with the newly emboldened Scott Walker that he will try some way to kill it (even though it’s coming from the state level). Mark my words. The best thing that can happen is to find a clever way to use those funds to improve transit in the city quietly to avoid the wrath of the goon squad who would otherwise set the city back another 20 years in transit. Yep, I’m talking about quietly giving up the streetcar. Get clever with using the money for KRM or other basic transit improvements. It stucks to say this, but the last thing we need is more political madness that makes half the state think transit is a communist plot.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Tyrell Track Master Oh I hear ya the implications of the election are concerning (though the PSC was already stacked against the streetcar anyhow), but no. There will be other grants and funding for other stuff one day, no need to throw the money away.

  3. Tyrell Track Master says:

    Yeah… I dig your optimism. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for it, but what I’m most paranoid about is that Walker will drive development to places like Pleasant Prairie (correctly known as “unpleasant parking lot”) .. the kind of thing that will spread stuff out so much that no train can ever work. The optimist in me hopes that Walker will come around and put genuine state help behind the Park East. That along would make the streetcar work. Without it, it’s just fodder for the goon squad.

  4. Hereiam says:

    Can you imagine how different the city would look today if they had went ahead with the plan for light rail 20 years ago? At some point the naysayers need to be left saying nay, so that the city can taking a step toward helping this community reach its potential.

    Personally, my biggest concern with delay is that I haven’t yet heard opponents of the streetcar propose an alternative. Milwaukee is already a relatively dense city. Yet, the downtown has tremendous potential for infill that it could sustain a really productive level of density. The streetcar would tie together populated areas and encourage development in the soft spots. The result would be a more connected downtown. Several studies have shown that connected cities are more productive cities.

    If you read the MacIver study, you will get a 25-page prose diatribe against transit all supported by two tables. In the end, it is not really a study and even fails to advance their argument. Their take away is that Portland offered a billion dollars to support development along the streetcar line and, thus, is a bad idea. Of course, Portland ended up generating $3.5 billion in the same corridor. Who wouldn’t take that kind of return on investment?

  5. Dave Reid says:

    @Hereiam Yeah I know…

  6. Brock Harvey says:

    A streetcar line is a lousy transportation method. It is static, slow, a menace to other vehicles on the street, costly, and many other negative things with few positives.

    A bus can do the same exact job at a fraction of the cost and bus line designations are dynamic!

  7. Dave Reid says:

    “a menace to other vehicles on the street”.

    Really? The vehicle which movements are extremely predictable is the menace? I think you’ve got that backwards.

    “many other negative things with few positives.”

    Few positives? Yup Portland is regretting the massive increase in tax base, retail, density, and activity along the line. Ha

    “A bus can do the same exact job at a fraction of the cost and bus line designations are dynamic!”

    Nope it can not. Precisely because its line designations are dynamic its economic development value is limited, unlike a line with physical infrastructure that can be built around. True Bus Rapid Transit (not what Walker proposed) can come close, but it isn’t just a bus or even a fancy bus it involves physical infrastructure (stops – boarding platforms, curbs, bumpouts, bollarding, and bus only travel lanes) as well.

  8. Juli Kaufmann says:

    I really appreciate this post. Its such a nice collection of items of interest to urbophiles in Milwaukee. Just thanks.

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