Phase one of Wauwatosa reef project complete

Posted at 6:11 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 19:11:52-05

A major milestone in the city of Wauwatosa combines the past with the present - all while offering the conveniences of today.

The Schoonmaker Reef, a national historic landmark, was the first fossil reef identified in the United States.

"This site is where there was a quarry dating back to the 1830s, and when doing the quarrying they found all kind of fossils," said Stu Wangard, Chairman and CEO.

We were there back in October when crews started cleaning up the site, an old manufacturing plant at 1215 N. 62nd St. in Wauwatosa.

Work crews spent three weeks and 400 hours of labor removing sand and debris around the reef.

"Not many people can say they had the opportunity to work on a national historic landmark, so [we] actually had a sign up list 'cause I had so many people volunteering to want to be a part of this project," said Kevin Hurst, with Wauwatosa's Department of Public Works.

Mayor Kathy Ehley praised the new development, which promotes progress, but stays true to the past.

"Most people did not know it was here until we started this development," Mayor Ehley says, "and that's why it was important to get the word out, people like you telling the greater Milwaukee region what this was all about and what treasure we have here."

Phase one of the reef apartment complex is now complete. There are 180 units, with high end touches. Some are townhomes with garages, where residents get views of the historic reef.

"It's a very unique thing to have in North America, we welcome the fact that developer wanted to reserve the reef and give it public access," the mayor says.