MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District is preparing for the Democratic National Convention.
It's expected that Milwaukee's largest hotels, Fiserv Forum and transit officials will be in overdrive. They are preparing for some 50,000 visitors during the Democratic National Convention next summer. Among those getting their plans in order is the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.
“The appearance of a clean waterway is a big part of the growth of the city,” said Captain Scott Cassavant. He operates MMSD’s river skimmer.
The small craft searches for and collects debris in Milwaukee’s rivers and inner harbor.
“We're out there looking for everything from small plastic bottles to whole trees,” Cassavant said. “Try to use your imagination. We might have found it or seen it on the rivers already. It never ceases to amaze me what we find in these waterways.”
Nobody wants to see any of that on the water when we have so many guests in town. City officials know many of them will be on or near the water during their stay, and the rivers and lake will be a Milwaukee showpiece.
“The DNC is going to be mainly in the downtown area, over at Fiserv Forum which is what, a block away? I anticipate we're going to see high traffic of tourism and political people down on the waterways which is fantastic,” Cassavant said.
For items too much for the skimmer, MMSD coordinates with the Port of Milwaukee which operates a picker. The larger vessel can grab bigger items, cut them up if necessary, and bring them aboard. The Port too is aware of the importance of clean, clear waterways as the City puts its best foot forward.
“There's been plenty of meetings going on already about it. We've got one individual at the Port dedicated to follow the DNC procedures,” said Wayne Johnson, Port of Milwaukee harbor master.
Johnson believes if they’re doing their job right, this won’t be the only time we see DNC guests in Milwaukee.
“I hope we impress them that they want to move here or come and visit.”