Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City To Buy Bay View Land

Port of Milwaukee would buy 3-acres from state, open to public in perpetuity.

By - Mar 21st, 2017 07:19 pm
1314 E. Conway St. Image from Google Maps.

1314 E. Conway St. Image from Google Maps.

The Port of Milwaukee is poised to grow by 2.69 acres under a deal negotiated with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The city-owned port would acquire the large Bay View parcel for the bargain price of $425. The property is addressed as 1314 E. Conway St. and is bounded by S. Carferry Dr., the Lake Parkway (Wisconsin Highway 794), E. Conway St. and the United States Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center at 2401 S. Lincoln Memorial Dr.

Terms of the sale prevent the development of the property with any permanent structures or place any billboards on the site. A deed restriction also insures that the property must be open to the public in perpetuity.

Dave Misky, assistant executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, presented the deal to the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee. Misky told the committee that “alderman Tony Zielinski has wanted to acquire the property for over ten years.”

Committee chair alderman Jim Bohl suggested that the port should investigate using native prairie grasses similar to those found at Hartung Park and Three Bridges Park in order to reduce the need to mow the facility and mitigate any environmental impacts.

The DNR has only owned the land for 11 years. It was transferred to the DNR in 2006 by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to be used as a wildlife habitat. According to a city report the property has been open space since the construction of Interstate 794 and the Hoan Bridge in the 1970s. According to Misky the DNR is seeking to sell the property as part of a state mandate to reduce state-owned land.

The committee unanimously approved the acquisition. The deal is scheduled to go before the full Common Council for approval on March 28th.

7 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: City To Buy Bay View Land”

  1. Rich says:

    Remember when there used to be a steam engine in that “park”?

    Unfortunately, it didn’t fare to well while it was there…

  2. Joe says:

    I applaud the city’s accomplishment in preventing billboards on the site. Some great neighborhoods in Chicago have been cluttered with massive, hideous LED billboards due to failures in leadership. One hopes that level of light pollution stays out of our city’s neighborhoods, regardless of whether a freeway happens to be there.

  3. Isral DeBruin says:

    Right now, this parcel is dead land. It’s a nice idea that it will be “open to the public in perpetuity,” but I have never seen a single person on it. In fact, there are signs warning passersby to keep off! Something has to happen with this land. I agree with the previous commenter that I don’t want to see a billboard on the site, but I’d rather see some sort of development than just this blank mowed grass lot. Or else take the signs down and add some amenities that activate the space, or seed it with native plants and let it go wild. As-is, it’s not adding anything.

  4. Observor says:

    Nice pictures Rich. Thanks.

  5. Molly O says:

    Turn it into prairie plants with pathways to walk on. Like the one near Discovery World.
    We do not need another ugly, overpriced
    apartment bldg.

  6. James Duszynski says:

    Rich, I grew up in the Milwaukee area, attended Bay High School and as a kid growing up in the 1950’s & 1960’s I remember “old Smokey” very well. I also remember the Quonset Huts that were just a little north of Old Smokey. Besides the ravages of time, weather general neglect, what was worse was the vandalism. I guess there will always be people who have no respect for history.

  7. Virginia says:

    This site could make a valuable neighborhood park. However, as Isral notes, people need to know it’s available for use and there need to be ways/reasons to use the site, such as paths and/or benches.

    Being adjacent to three populated streets means it’s walkable for neighbors with spaces for visitors to park nearby. It can still be “open space” but will likely be most valuable, including with economic impact, as an activated public park.

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