Green Project at ‘Tent City’ Site Finalized
City, state, MMSD cooperate on stormwater project. But its timing raises questions.
The city has landed on a final design for the first phase of a green infrastructure project underneath Interstate 794.
The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW), in partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), are redeveloping a swath of land under interstate overpasses to catch and treat stormwater.
The 16-acre site is west of 6th Street between West Clybourn and West St. Paul avenues. Using funding from MMSD’s Green Solutions program, DPW officials have developed a plan to turn the site under the freeway into an area designed for public use with storm water retention infrastructure. They are also developing plans for a future, currently unfunded phase of the project that would add public use elements to the space.
The first phase of the plan is expected to be capable of capturing 150,000 gallons of water, keeping it out of the combined sewer during a heavy rain event. The second, unfunded phase, is focused on activating the space for the public. A popular option that is being discussed is the creation of a mountain bike trail. Plans also point to skateboard park, bike polo and other sporting courts, a dog park and a playground.
The site in question for this project is where a large number of homeless people had been camping over the past year. The area has been colloquially referred to as ‘Tent City.” Milwaukee County has been working to get the residents of the makeshift community into housing, after WisDOT issued an order to vacate in early October and all but a few had left by late November.
This project is in line with Mayor Tom Barrett’s Green Infrastructure Plan, that seeks to add approximately 36 million gallons of stormwater storage through green infrastructure by 2030. But Ald. Bob Bauman has publicly questioned whether the project has more to do with Tent City than is being let on, as Jeramey Jannene has previously reported for Urban Milwaukee. State and city officials, however, say planning for the project started two years go.
But city officials, as Jannene reported, are expressing concern that the encampment will start back up in 2020. Bauman said, “It’s not obvious how this plan will prevent camping.” And construction for the project is expected to start in late summer 2020. Which means the lot will still be vacant during the Democratic National Convention, when the eyes of the nation will be on Milwaukee.
Renderings and Plans
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- Eyes on Milwaukee: Is There A Plan To Prevent New Tent City? - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 8th, 2020
- Green Project at ‘Tent City’ Site Finalized - Graham Kilmer - Dec 20th, 2019
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Will Tent City Come Back? - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 4th, 2019
- City Creating Green Project Under I-794 - Graham Kilmer - Nov 27th, 2019
- Open house Tuesday on joint stormwater project under I-794 - City of Milwaukee Dept. of Public Works - Nov 22nd, 2019
- How You Can Help the Homeless - Bridget Fogarty - Nov 21st, 2019
- Tent City Homeless Evicted By State - Alana Watson - Nov 21st, 2019
- MKE County: Officials Relocating Tent City Residents - Graham Kilmer - Oct 28th, 2019
- Plats and Parcels: Tent City Being Evicted - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 6th, 2019
- Op Ed: Tent City A Result of Public Policy - Joseph Volk - Aug 6th, 2019
Read more about Tent City here