Cherish the land that no one owns.
Li Po, 750 CE
by Jean Scherwenka,photos Kurt Johnson
Since the article in the November 2005 Currents about Milwaukee PCs Jim Petr clear-cutting the east bank of the Milwaukee River, heres what has happened:
The Village of Shorewood hired the Lakota Group, an urban planning firm, to draw up the Villages Master Plan for redevelopment south of Capitol Drive (sometimes referred to as the Comprehensive Plan). Their proposed plan includes seven-story condos, a restaurant with terrace overlooking the river, retail spaces along Capitol Drive, and parking, all on the Riverbrook Restaurant, Milwaukee PC, and apartment complex sites. The full Plan including maps can be seen at www.villageofshorewood.org.
Residents of Riverwest and Shorewood, along with environmental and river preservation groups, are concerned about the proposed building heights and the dense development right up to the bluff of the river. Also, there has been discussion about including a public trail along the river, but there is no evidence of that on the Master Plans map.
To address these concerns, the Village hired local architect Rabinovitz Associates to come up with Alternative Development Strategies that will outline three scenarios: 1) A highest and best use development [Keep in mind that Shorewood wants to increase their property values and expand their tax base]; 2) a light green development generally fitting the natural context along the river and creating open space; and 3) a green solution with minimal impact on the river, the view shed and surrounding areas.
Shorewood is a community that cares about the environment, said Ann Brummitt, Shorewood resident and activist. She believes Shorewood has an opportunity here to set an important model for the entire urban river corridor.
Responsible development and sensitivity towards the environment are compatible, says Brummitt. Our children and their children will appreciate our decisions today when they, in minutes, can explore the river together and feel like they are 100 miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Rabinowitzs interim report was presented at the Village Boards June 22 meeting; his final report will be ready sometime in July. A public hearing of Shorewoods Master Plan is scheduled for the Boards July 10 meeting, 7:30 pm, Shorewood Village Hall, 3930 N. Murray Ave., (414) 847-2700.
If we can fill these meetings with concerned residents, we think our chances are better to alter the development to be more aesthetic and responsible toward the river, says Brummitt. Residents on both sides of the Milwaukee River concerned about preserving the rivers view shed and environmental corridor can watch for public hearings, meeting notices and agendas posted on the Village website (www.villageofshorewood.org).
Riverwest Currents online edition – July, 2006