Tiny Homes Village Plan Moves Forward
24-unit veterans' housing complex could expand to 48 units in Menomonee River Hills neighborhood.
A new housing complex for military veterans will take an unusual form, at least for Milwaukee
The nonprofit closed on the purchase of the vacant site from the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee on Friday. In 2019 the organization agreed to purchase the seven-acre site for $35,000. The Common Council approved a zoning change to enable the project, championed by Air Force veteran and area Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.
The facility will be named after Vietnam War veteran Gary Wetzel. The Milwaukee resident, a Medal of Honor recipient, is a tireless advocate for veterans.
The homes will be built in clusters of six, with half of the units being handicapped accessible. The accessible units will be 232 square feet while the lofted units will be 172 square feet. The design and material selection for the homes is intended to allow for volunteers and veterans to build and repair the structures according to representatives of design firm SEH.
The project is modeled after a 15-home community VoW operates in Racine. “They’re small, they’re great, but they’re not big enough for them to want to stay forever,” said VoW executive director Jeff Gustin in September 2019 when the citizen-led City Plan Commission reviewed the design.
A community center will be constructed in the middle of the houses. It would contain restrooms, showers, a community kitchen, computers and classrooms. Programing would include financial literacy, wellness and job training.
A future phase could double the size of the project, bringing the total number of units to 48. An additional zoning change would be required.
The development would be exempt from property taxes, but terms of the deal require the organization to make a $2,760 annual payment in lieu of taxes.
A community garden, the Green Tree Community Garden, would be maintained at the eastern edge of the site.
W. Green Tree Rd. could be extended west and utilities run into the larger site as part of the development, allowing the city to pursue the development of the remainder of the 40-acre site known as Bacher Farms.
Renderings and Architectural Layout
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Read more about Veterans Tiny Homes here