Park People issue alert: O’Donnell Park may be on the chopping block again

January 28, 2015

ALERT: Supervisors Move to Put O’Donnell Park Up for Sale

Pending resolution solicits bids for redevelopment of “Entire O’Donnell Park Parcel” and immediately stops O’Donnell revenue from going into County Parks budget.

A resolution to put O’Donnell Park up for bid to private developers was introduced Jan. 27 at a meeting of the Parks, Energy & Environment Committee of Milwaukee County’s Board of Supervisors. (It was a substitute for a resolution requesting bids to repair a small area of O’Donnell’s roof and to explore increased programming and income options for O’Donnell Park.)  It will be presented to the full board Thursday, February 5 at a 9:30 a.m. meeting.

The resolution to offer this 147-year-old public park to for-profit bidders was sponsored by Anthony Staskunas, Deanna Alexander, and Steve Taylor, who voted for it in committee.

  • Approving the resolution will mean O’Donnell Park is “declared surplus,” a term applied to property no longer of any use to the County, such as outdated vehicles or vacant buildings.
  • An RFP would cover “the entire O’Donnell Park Parcel” with “full redevelopment of the southern half of the parcel” and redevelopment on the northern half “consistent with the parks-only provision of the existing deed restriction.”
  • Until O’Donnell Park is sold, “any revenue generated by the Parking operations shall be used to first pay off debt related to O’Donnell Park, then towards cash financing of any needed repairs, and then any excess shall be added to the Parks Department’s budget…” That’s an immediate $1.3 million slashing of the parks’ maintenance budget. 

Please help stop an unprecedented—and completely unnecessary–sale of O’Donnell Park. The seven-acre complex serves as Milwaukee’s cultural gateway and town plaza linking Downtown and the Lakefront. Facilities include a three-story pavilion (home to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Coast restaurant, and meeting/banquet rooms), two garden plazas and a 1,332-space parking facility. There are 900 monthly parkers at O’Donnell and 200 on a waiting list. The parking structure received a $5 million thorough restoration in 2011, fully reimbursed by a former contractor.

Please contact your supervisor and those who have not yet declared a position on this park sale (and to support O’Donnell’s maintenance and best use), especially Mark Borkowski, Marina Dimitrijevic, Theo Lipscomb, Khalif Rainey, Peggy Romo West, James ‘Luigi” Schmitt, and Martin Weddle. 

We believe we can count on Gerry Broderick, Jason Haas, Willie Johnson, Jr., Patricia Jursik, Michael Mayo, Sr., and John Weishan to keep O’Donnell Park from being sold, and to keep it well maintained, however please contact them if they represent you and urge them to continue efforts to keep O’Donnell Park public.

We averted a sale in December by making our views known to supervisors and we can do so again. Keep fighting for parks as “democracy’s common ground.”

Before contacting supervisors please check the article by The City Parks Alliance on Why Urban Parks Matter! It may help you formulate an argument.

District    Supervisor                    Phone                     email
1          Theo Lipscomb           414-278-4280
2          Khalif Rainey              414-278-4278
3          Gerry Broderick          414-278-4237
4          Marina Dimitrijevic    414-278-4232
5         Martin Weddle             414-278-4261
6         James Schmitt              414-278-4273
7         Michael Mayo              414-278-4241
8         Patricia Jursik              414-278-4231
9         Steve Taylor                414-278-4267
10       Vacant
11       Mark Borkowski          414-278-4253
12       Peggy Romo West       414-278-4269
13       Willie Johnson             414-278-4233
14       Jason Haas                   414-278-4252
15       Vacant
16       John Weishan              414-278-4255
17       Anthony Staskunas     414-278-4247
18       Deanna Alexander      414-278-4149

Preserve Our Parks
1845 N Farwell AV
Suite 100
Milwaukee, WI 53209

Joint Statement from members of the Common Council concerning Ald. Joe Dudzik

January 23, 2015

January 23, 2015

Well thought-out and well-chosen words can heal and enlighten. Unfortunately, not-so-well-chosen words can also spread fear and ignorance.

The hurtful and divisive comments Alderman Joe Dudzik made on a radio program yesterday regarding the streetcar project were baseless and do not warrant repeating. However, we must address them because we believe we cannot move Milwaukee forward by dismissing or avoiding the message they carry.

The message of fear and divisiveness at the heart of the comments is not what we stand for as members of the Common Council, nor does the message resonate in our community. We stand together and embrace our rich and diverse city, built by generations of good and hardworking people, and we celebrate our neighborhoods where people of all colors, religions, and ethnicities live, work and play together. We are united in our belief that our city’s best days lie ahead.

In addition, Alderman Dudzik’s reference to sexual assault — used as a scare tactic in a political debate about a transportation project — is disappointing and completely devoid of any factual basis. Rape and sexual assault should never be used to advance a political position or to stir fear in the hearts of our citizens.

Going forward, we will continue to focus the debate on the merits of the project, in hopes of cultivating an informative conversation about the streetcar. We fully expect our colleagues and others to do the same.


Ald. Michael J. Murphy
Ald. Ashanti Hamilton
Ald. Joe Davis, Sr.                           
Ald. Nik Kovac
Ald. Robert Bauman
Ald. James A. Bohl, Jr.
Ald. Milele A. Coggs
Ald. Willie C. Wade
Ald. José G. Pérez
Ald. Terry L. Witkowski
Ald. Tony Zielinski
Ald. Russell W. Stamper, II



Ald. Ashanti Hamilton on the streetcar debate: Seeing beyond the streetcar — just one part of strategy to create opportunities 

January 23, 2015

Source: Press release from the office of Alderman Ashanti Hamilton

Statement of Alderman Ashanti Hamilton 

January 23, 2015 

With all of the somewhat extreme and dramatic claims being made in the streetcar debate, it is time to remind everyone about the already approved and ongoing efforts in Milwaukee that are not being mentioned by either side, but that go hand in hand with the streetcar project.

For example, it was last summer that the Common Council approved (15-0) the report “Growing Prosperity — An Action Agenda for Economic Development.” The plan, which includes a streetcar, has several key recommendations, including new transit options to better connect inner city residents with job opportunities, and using inner city vacant properties to foster business startups.

Growing Prosperity is all about better use of human capital, infrastructure, land and transit options to maximize Milwaukee’s economic engine so that it can benefit downtown AND the entire city.

Then there’s also the 2010 Milwaukee Downtown Plan (which also includes the streetcar), a multifaceted plan (drafted following an intensive planning process) that looks at maximizing downtown assets to further create economic development opportunities and jobs for residents.

And my references to city efforts to stimulate jobs cannot leave out the MORE ordinance (Milwaukee’s Opportunity for Restoring Employment), which made an effort to allow women and minority-owned businesses to have a hand in helping build larger developments and scale city infrastructure projects, and wherein city residents would be working 40% of the hours on those projects. The TIF to fund the streetcar even sets aside resources to ensure that there is maximum participation from city residents and small businesses. The community outreach and planning process set in place by the Northwestern Mutual Life downtown headquarters project set a precedent that members of the Council are demanding the streetcar project follow.

I would bet that several of my colleagues who have been outspoken in their opposition to the streetcar of late actually voted FOR many of the examples and efforts I’ve just outlined.

Now, I do not believe the streetcar project is a panacea for all of Milwaukee’s employment issues and other serious matters (especially public safety), but it is clear that it is definitely part of our overall economic development plan!

Further, I am very concerned about how some of my colleagues are bringing public safety and protective services into the streetcar equation (saying, “We should send the streetcar money over to the police department and the fire department for more officers and firefighters”).

Using the money for anything other than the streetcar is not allowed, and Milwaukee is already spending a staggering amount each year on police and fire services (59 cents out of every dollar in the city’s operating budget goes to fund police and fire costs!). To me it seems there are many on the Council who seem to be unaware of just how much the city is already spending on public safety (or who are conveniently ignoring that part of the equation!). The truth is that if this project is rejected, not a dime more will be made available for police…and if approved, not even a nickel will be diverted from our public safety efforts.

Because NONE of the streetcar money can be siphoned off to pay for more cops or firefighters, I suggest some of my colleagues support making more city funding available for existing programs that will improve public safety while also improving job prospects for city residents. They can start with making sure our existing Promise Zones and transitional job programs such as Compete Milwaukee receive a constant and appropriate level of funding.

While we debate every inch of the streetcar project, let’s not forget about the plans and programs already in place that will be enhanced by the streetcar. I challenge every person who felt the need to get involved in this debate to make the commitment to do their part to make the racial and economic disparities that have dominated the conversation disappear.


A little levity concerning the proposed streetcar from Ald. Stamper

January 23, 2015

Source — press release from office of Ald. Russell W. Stamper II

A response to Alderman Joe Davis., Sr.

Statement of Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II

January 23, 2015

Tuesday’s 15th district community meeting went well. It was a productive meeting regarding the pros and cons of the proposed streetcar. Alderman Joe Davis was one of many interested community members who attended. Given his “senior status,” I would have expected him to understand that simply repeating untruths at a louder volume than everyone else does not make them true.

But it seems as if my colleague Alderman Davis may be incorrect with his statements about more than just the streetcar proposal. The Milwaukee Common Council has no “junior” members, but apparently once you start making statements that are frivolous in their approach to the facts, you just don’t stop.

I must, therefore, assume that Alderman Davis is acknowledging my youthful charm and good looks. Irrespective of the repartee, I look forward to working positively with my colleague for the good of our city.

Fine doubles in Milwaukee for failure to shovel walks/remove ice

January 22, 2015

Source: Press release from City of Milwaukee Dept. of Public Works

City of Milwaukee Sidewalk Snow and ice Removal Ordinance Change 

Changes to City Ordinance 116-8-4 addressing snowy, icy sidewalks now in effect 

Property owners in the City of Milwaukee are advised that a City ordinance amendment concerning sidewalk snow and ice removal took effect on January 20, 2015.

What is the City ordinance concerning clearing sidewalks during the winter? City of Milwaukee private property, residential or commercial property owners and occupants are required to clear the sidewalks abutting their property of snow or ice within 24 hours after a snow fall. This includes the corner crosswalk area for property owners with corner lots, and those whose property abuts a midblock crosswalk.

What has changed? If a property owner is found to be in violation of this ordinance, a special charge of $50 (up from $25) will be assessed. Property owners who fail to clear all sidewalk snow and ice within 24 hours after receiving notice of the violation will be assessed additional special charges of $75 (up from $45) for the first violation and $100 (up from $90) for a second violation and any violations thereafter, plus the cost of snow and ice removal if cleared by the City.

The Department of Public Works staff is responsible for monitoring properties for snow and ice removal compliance and provides clean-up services when necessary. Residents can also alert DPW to problem properties by calling (414) 286-CITY. 

Truth lies in the middle of Milwaukee Streetcar debate 

January 22, 2015

Statement from Common Council President Michael J. Murphy 

The debate on the downtown Milwaukee streetcar has been contentious and polarizing. Much of this can be attributed to the extreme language and scenarios being maintained by both supporters and opponents of the project. I’m a strong believer that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

After much contemplation and attention to the merits on both sides of the issue, today I voted in support of the streetcar. However, I did so also recognizing the value of allowing for direct democracy on issues of great importance to the city at large. Because of this, I also voted in support of a procedural delay that allows opponents of the streetcar more time to gather the signatures required to force a binding referendum.

In the end, while I believe there is substantial support for the streetcar and that the project, along with other downtown initiatives, will create an urban environment that is robust and stimulates additional economic activity and employment, I am not naive to the fact that there is a constituency in the city that feels this is the wrong use of city resources.

Citizens of good will have been willing to go out in the middle of winter — in some instances in below zero weather — to share their opinions and collect signatures to determine if there is city-wide support for the streetcar (by passing direct legislation that would require the city to hold a binding referendum in order to construct any rail transit system costing more than $20 million). Although these efforts may not reflect popular opinion in some districts, we should be careful not to carelessly or cavalierly disregard the wishes of those citizens. They too are Milwaukee.

Issued Jan. 22, 2015 by office of Michael J. Murphy

Bay View Historical Society to receive large bequest

January 16, 2015

The Bay View Historical Society will  receive the proceeds of the sale of a Milwaukee home, said Shelly Budde, a realtor with Cream City Real Estate.

Until the listing is published, the location of the home and the name of its late owner who made the bequest will not be made public.

Joan Sliker who owns the realty firm is avidly interested in Bay View history and has a collection of Bay View artifacts, some of which were on display when she moved her business into the old St. Francis State Bank, 3474 S. Pennsylvania Ave., that she renovated, in 2009.

Wisconsin Circuit Court records list the value of the estate at just over $300,000.

The owner had no heirs.


Grant Park improvements include beach area and two-mile Oak Leaf Trail stretch this year

January 14, 2015


PHOTO UW-Milwaukee Professor Craig Berg

Several significant projects, including big improvements to the beach area, a visit from the Traveling Beer Garden, and money to repave a two-mile stretch of the Oak Leaf Trail, will greatly improve Grant Park, the county’s second largest park with 381 acres.

“Across Milwaukee County we are improving parks and public spaces. From fixing up the long-neglected Oak Leaf Trail in the South Shore to my Urban Parks initiative that has improved parks in the central city, I am committed to continuing to make a difference,” County Executive Chris Abele said.

“The South Shore is rapidly being recognized as the new best place to live, work, and play, and projects like these are more examples of the rejuvenation this area is seeing,” said Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik, who also pushed for the added investment in the park. “This area known for hard-working families is already one of the best stretches of lakefront parkland in the entire county.”

South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks welcomed the improvements at Grant Park. “2015 is going to be a big year for Grant Park, and that’s a big deal for South Milwaukee,” he said. “Grant Park is such a terrific attraction for our city, such an important part of the fabric of South Milwaukee. It’s exciting to see these major investments for its future.”

The 2015 investments in Grant Park include:

  • Repaving the Oak Leaf Trail through the park. This portion of the trail is the oldest in the county. Funding for the trail project was included in County Executive Abele’s 2015 budget and supported by the County Board and Supervisor Jursik.
  • Significant enhancements to Grant Park Beach, including the creation of a rain garden between the beach parking lot and the mouth of Oak Creek, more beach volleyball leagues and an exciting new beach concessionaire. More details on the beach activities will be announced in coming months.
  • A visit from the famous Milwaukee County Traveling Beer Garden in June. Milwaukee County has added Grant Park as one of the stops for the popular mobile beer garden, with dates to be announced in coming weeks.
  • Grant Park has also seen more than 1,000 trees planted in the past two years, as the County continues to combat emerald ash borer in the park. Another 9,619 native plants and an acre of prairie grass were also planted, through a Fund for Lake Michigan grant.

“From its 18-hole golf course to its beautiful beach to its historic 7 Bridges walking trails and high-quality natural areas, Grant Park is already filled with terrific amenities,” said Don Lawson, chairperson of Friends of Grant Park, a significant partner in efforts to beautify and maintain the park. “The investments being made in 2015 will only make the park and the community that much better.”

Since taking office in 2011, County Executive Abele has increased parkland across Milwaukee County by nearly 150 acres and significantly increased parks earned revenue, which provides more operating support. At the same time, County Executive Abele is also focusing on tackling long-ignored deferred maintenance issues at parks countywide. In the 2015 Budget alone, he added more than $19 million in repairs and maintenance in the Parks, Cultural and Recreation Budget.

Source: Milwaukee County Parks Press Release


B&B application for 602 E. Lincoln in Bay View

January 14, 2015

Notification from City of Milwaukee:

At 602 E Lincoln AV a APPLICATION Bed & Breakfast Establishment license was applied for on 01/13/2015 for The Muse Gallery Guest House, The Muse Gallery Guest House LLC.

If you wish to express your concerns regarding this application you should contact the License Division by email at or send a letter to the License Division at 200 E. Wells St., Room 105, Milwaukee, WI 53202.

The email or letter should include the following:

  • Your name
  • Your mailing address
  • The specific reason for your concerns


If the email or letter is received in a timely manner, you will receive notification when the application will be scheduled before the appropriate Common Council committee for review and hearing.

You may also wish to call your local Alderperson at (414) 286-2221 to discuss your concerns.

If you have any other questions, please call the City Clerk License Division at (414) 286-2238.

You have received this notification because you subscribed to be notified for the City Clerk License Division Notification category from the City of Milwaukee.

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Milwaukee’s MKL Jr Celebration’s theme is “What a Beautiful World: A Salute to Those Who Protect and Serve”

January 9, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at King Center

“What a Beautiful World: A Salute to Those Who Protect and Serve” is the theme of this year’s public celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Monday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. The Center is located at 1531 W. Vliet St.

“One of the enduring strengths of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is that he united so many different people in a common drive for freedom, service and equality. Dr. King believed that what unites us is greater than what divides us, and that we work best when we work together. Those ideals are as important today as they were 40 years ago,” County Executive Chris Abele said. “As we celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy, it is important to honor both who he was and what he stood for.”

This year’s theme was inspired by a quote from Dr. King: “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

To honor King, the program of music, dance, and spoken word will salute those who protect and serve the public.

At 4:30 p.m. an open house will follow the program.

Discounted memberships, which include both the King and Kosciuszko Community Centers, will be offered at the King Center from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and after the program until 8 p.m.

For more information go to or call the King Center at (414) 257-PARK.

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January 7, 2015

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Owl Prowl at Wehr Nature Center this weekend and next

January 6, 2015

Separate Programs for Families, Adults, and Scouts Search for Owls

“Owl Prowl,” a night out with the owls, will be led by a Wehr Nature Center naturalist on five evenings in January, at 9701 W. College Ave.

Each interactive program will highlight the habits and adaptations of owls, followed by a walk in the woodlands in search of Great Horned Owls and Eastern Screech Owls. A presentation on Wisconsin owls will follow the hike.

Owl Prowl for Families, recommended for children age 6 and up, will be offered Friday and Saturday, Jan. 9 and 10, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Owl Prowl for Adults will be offered Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16 and 17, from 7-9 p.m.; and Owl Prowl for Scouts, for youth groups in second grade or above, will be offered Saturday, Jan. 24, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Participants are reminded to dress in warm layers and bring flashlights.

Group size is limited, so those interested in attending should register by the Wednesday before the program.

Admission is $10 for Non-MilwaukeeCounty residents, $7 for Milwaukee County residents, and $5 for Friends of Wehr.

For more information go to or call the Wehr Nature Center at (414) 425-8550.


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