Bay View alderman pushes for park space on site once considered for housing

Posted at 8:38 AM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 10:29:30-04

MILWAUKEE -- A high number of apartment projects along Kinnickinnic Avenue in Milwaukee has Ald. Tony Zielinski pushing for a former Army Reserve property to remain park space, rather than be developed, according to TODAY'S TMJ4 partner, The Milwaukee Business Journal.

The roughly 5-acre property is southeast of Lincoln and South Logan avenues in the city's Bay View neighborhood. It was a former Army Reserve center, but has been green space for years. The city in 2009 attempted to sell the land for a housing development, and vetted several competing development proposals. A proposal by the Milwaukee Housing Authority to build solar-powered homes there never moved forward.

Zielinski said Bay View is now seeing hundreds of new apartments through three projects along Kinnickinnic Avenue, near East Bay Street. Those include 291 units at The Stitchweld on Robinson Avenue, about 70 apartments at 2202 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., and 144 in New Land Enterprises’ proposed redevelopment of the former Hamburger Mary’s property.
With those apartments in the works, the former Army Reserve land should become a city park, Zielinski said. As alderman, he has opposed high-density apartment construction in the neighborhoods around Kinnickinnic Avenue, while encouraging it on the main street.
A skateboard park could be built on the Army Reserve site, Zielinski said, along with outdoor courts for futsal and handball, and soccer fields.
“I believe I have support from people in the city,” Zielinski said. “A skateboard park especially was a big dream. We’ve got a lot of people who go skateboarding.”
The Milwaukee Department of City Development continues to talk with Zielinski about possibly rezoning the Army Reserve site, department spokesman Jeff Fleming wrote in an email to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
“Information is being exchanged, and we are seeking consensus,” Fleming said.
Zielinski said he plans to pay for the amenities partially through a possible land sale to New Land Enterprises for its apartment development. The developer already has a deal to buy land from the city at 353 E. Bay St. for its building. Zielinski said he is discussing the developer buying more city property to the east, at Bay and Allis streets, to become surface parking for the neighborhood. Proceeds from that land sale could pay for the park amenities, he said.
Tim Gokhman of New Land Enterprises, Milwaukee, said that land sale concept has been floated but is hypothetical.
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