Monday, March 2, 2015

Construction update on County Grounds: A photo essay

If you’ve driven along Swan Boulevard through the County Grounds lately you will have noticed, perhaps with some shock, the broad section of woodland that has been mowed down. Located directly across from the Discovery Parkway entrance to Innovation Park, this eventually will become the access road for the Forestry Exploration Center, which is planned to be built next to the DNR’s Wil-O-Way Woods. I was first alerted to this development by someone who noted the irony of beginning the Forestry Exploration Center project by clear-cutting the forest. (Although, to be "fair and balanced," while it is disturbing and I wonder why such a wide swath was considered necessary, a substantial percentage of those trees were invasive species.)

Future site of the Forestry Exploration Center - -

On the hilltop nearby, where Innovation Park is located, the Echelon Apartment complex is beginning to rise around the historic Eschweiler buildings, the fate of which (the last I heard) is still hanging in the balance.

At the other end of the Innovation Park campus new power lines are connected to the substation that has been added to the County Grounds power plant.

Meanwhile the hotel that was planned for the vacant lot overlooking that plant has been delayed indefinitely. According to a story in Wauwatosa NOW, the developer requested funding from the city because the fill that had been placed on the site has settled and needs to be stabilized. That request was denied by the common council.  


  1. WDNR told us that WisDOT was going to pay to put in the new road there to the Forest Exploration Center as part of being allowed to store materials nearby (by the other haul road) and also due to concrete crunching. We were told by DNR last year that the concrete crunching was no longer going to happen at this site, so I'm surprised that the road was cut in? It's way overkill. As is everything else on the County Grounds. What a lost opportunity to show how development can complement and work WITH natural features and not against them. When the UWM/City destroyed the ravine/drainage area for the proposed hotel, we warned that was a bad idea. That ravine has come back to bite them on the behind. Also note that a large portion of the retaining wall on WT Plank is already failing at the top corner. They could have also kept some of the century trees across from that wall had they made minor changes to the design, and now we have some nice sticks where 100-200 year old oaks used to stand.