Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Lincoln Park Becoming A Little Bigger

County merging former residential parcel into surrounding park.

By - Oct 20th, 2020 04:02 pm
Lincoln Park along the Milwaukee River. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Lincoln Park along the Milwaukee River, subject property on the right. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A proposal before the Milwaukee Common Council would expand the size of Milwaukee County’s sprawling Lincoln Park, at least on paper. The approximately 312-acre park runs along the Milwaukee River and Lincoln Creek from W. Silver Spring Dr. on the north to W. Glendale Ave. on the south, Interstate 43 on the east to N. Green Bay Rd. on the west.

The county, with support from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, acquired the 0.59-acre property at 5300 N. Milwaukee River Pkwy. in February 2018 for $135,000, below its $160,000 assessment, as part of a flood mitigation plan. It was one of a few private properties along the parkway that is wrapped by the park.

The rectangular property, with Milwaukee River frontage, came with a 988-square-foot house constructed in 1940. By the end of 2018, with assistance from D&H Demolition, the county had demolished the structure and removed any pavement from the site.

Now the county is pursuing a zoning change to designate the property as parkland. The City Plan Commission reviewed the request at its Monday meeting.

“This follows a plan for passive use recreation for that entire corridor,” said Sarah Toomsen, planning and development manager for the county parks department. “We are trying to mitigate flood risk and protect the green space.” The property is located just south of the rails-to-trails Zip Line paved trail that is part of the broader Oak Leaf Trail system. A series of walking paths can be found in the area just north of the property.

“Rezoning it to ‘parks’ is consistent with the comprehensive area plan and surrounding land use,” said city planning manager Sam Leichtling.

Commissioner Brianna Sas-Pérez asked why the county would seek to rezone the property now, two years after it acquired it.

“We see this as a protective measure,” said Toomsen. County land can be sold by the Milwaukee County Executive without board approval if it is not zoned as a park. The zoning change does not impact the tax status; the property has been property tax exempt since the county acquired it.

The commission unanimously endorsed the change, which will now go before the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

Lincoln Park is split between Milwaukee and suburban Glendale.


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Related Legislation: File 200591

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