Thursday, December 16, 2010

UWM to move forward with County Grounds Purchase

The roofs of the Eschweiler buildings are in serious disrepair.

The saga of the County Grounds continues. Milwaukee County agreed over a year and a half ago to sell 89 acres to the UWM real estate foundation for its Innovation Park and research campus for $13.5 million. I won't repeat the details of the intervening months of setbacks and postponements. Read about it in the article by Tom Daykin in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But, according to the article, UWM is ready to move ahead with a down payment of $5 million.

The story in the paper mentions that the foundation expects to sell the historic Eschweiler buildings to a developer for residential use. This has been the plan since it was presented to the Wauwatosa Common Council for zoning approval last May and therefore isn't anything new. What the story doesn't say is that there is an alternative being promoted by the County Grounds Preservation Coalition, which is a diverse group of environmental and historic preservation organizations (see previous post.) This alternative, which would require either philanthropic donations or a more creative development proposal, is intended to facilitate the preservation of the historic buildings and minimize additional construction around them. The UWM real estate foundation is aware of this alternative and has expressed willingness to work with the Coalition to achieve its goals, which would be a win-win for UWM and the people of Milwaukee County - along with the Monarch butterflies and other wildlife that grace this unique piece of land.

The Eschweiler buildings are in terrible shape and nothing has been done to prevent continued deterioration. Some have accused the county, which still owns the land and buildings, of "demolition by neglect." Whatever is done, measures must be taken quickly to ensure their preservation.

To see more pictures of the buildings, go to my flickr page.

No comments:

Post a Comment