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Week Ahead: Mayor Launches District Town Hall Meetups

Citizens of each aldermanic district, beginning with No. 2, will get a chance to talk to their elected officials about issues in their neighborhoods.

Wauwatosa Mayor Kathy Ehley and the Common Council members representing each of Tosa's eight aldermanic districts will begin this week a series of informal Town Hall-style meetings to hear and discuss issues of interest or concern to citizens.

The first meeting will be for District 2, where Ehley will be joined by Alds. Kathleen Causier and John Dubinski. It will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Wauwatosa Woman's Club, 1626 Wauwatosa Ave.

Among the issues on the agenda for discussion are:

  • The Milwaukee Avenue Sewer Project
  • Developments and issues pertaining to the County Grounds
  • Village redevelopment
  • 2013 citywide property re-evaluations

Citizens of the 2nd District are welcome to bring up other items for discussion.

District 2 encompasses most of the Village east to North 68th Street; Hart Park and a few homes south of the Menomonee River; the northeast quadrant of the County Grounds; and most of the Historic Heights, Ludington Commons and Parkway Estates neighborhoods, roughly south of North Avenue to Menomonee River Parkway and west of Church Street north to Warren Avenue, west of 81st Street north to Stickney Avenue, and west of 83rd Street north to North Avenue.

Times, dates, places and the order and agendas of upcoming district meetings are yet to be announced. Anyone who has questions or wants more information about the meetings is invited to call mayoral assistant Karen Jaeckels at 414-479-8915.

Your government at work

Four Common Council standing committees meet Tuesday night, with a number of items of public interest on the agendas.

Chickens – What will likely be the final public debate on the keeping of chickens by Wauwatosa residents will be heard in the Community Development Committee. The committee convenes at 8 p.m. in Committe Room No. 1 at City Hall.

A proposed ordinance change would allow residents to keep up to four hens (no roosters) in outdoor coops with adequate fenced space to roam. Wauwatosa's hen ordinance is largely modeled on Milwaukee's but for the purposes of regulation would treat them as pets rather than livestock, requiring individual licensing of each hen.

The Mayfair Collection – Also in Community Development, HSA Commercial Properties will seek final plan approval for Phase I of its redevelopment of former Roundy's Inc. distribution warehouses in the Burleigh Triangle.

Approval here and next week in full Council will pave the way for the long-awaited Mayfair Collection retail center, featuring a Nordstrom Rack and Dick's Sporting Goods stores. Preliminary plan approval was granted more than a year and a half ago, but the city and HSA twice extended final plan approval while negotiating tax incremental financing assistance for the developent.

The city will contribute up to about $7.5 million in TIF funds for the project in street and utility infrastructure costs, the timing and total to be dependant on HSA's ability to reach 75 percent tenancy.

Innovation, er, Campus – Somewhere along the line, the UWM Real Estate Foundation quietly changed the name of its County Grounds technology center from Innovation Park to Innovation Campus.

Be that as it may, the Wauwatosa Budget and Finance Committee, meeting at 8 p.m. in Committee Room No. 2, will hear for the first time a proposal from Zilber Ltd. and ABB Inc. for the first private development landed by the UWM foundation on the tract.

ABB is a power automation company currently located in New Berlin and would move some 350 jobs into a new three-story, 95,000-square-foot building on Innovation Campus. More than 100 of those jobs would be high-paying professional positions in engineering and management.

ABB and Zilber are expected to ask the city for additional funding under TIF District No. 6, above and beyond the $12.5 million in TIF money already slated for access roads and utilities to serve the whole campus. The likelihood is that the builders will want help developing structure parking for its building. The discussion is marked for possible closed session, meaning the public and media may be asked to leave.

Firefighting Grant won – Fire Chief Rob Ugaste will recommend acceptance of a federal grant award, and you can bet the Budget and Finance Committee will agree heartily, as long a the 10 percent in matching funds can be found.

The Fire Department applied for and won its entire grant request of $272,825 (actually $245,543 federal, $27,282 local match) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to replace aging and outdated breathing equipment that is essential to firefighter safety.

The grant will cover more than half of an expected $500,000 apparatus replacement cost that the Fire Department had budgeted for 2015, meaning many firefighters get new and more reliable equipment sooner and the city saves big money in the long run. Ugaste will ask the committee to dig around in the city coffers for the matching funds.

Schoonmacher Creek – City Engineer Bill Wehrley will recommend in Budget and Finance that Wauwatosa transfer jurisdition of Schoonmacher Creek to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District as an estimated $50 million in sewer projects looms in the creek's historic and geologic watershed.

Under MMSD's charter, it can be asked to assume jursidiction over additional waterways under certain circumstances. The district already is responsible for the Menomonee River and Honey, Underwood and Grantosa creeks.

Wehrley writes in his proposal, "This could save the City millions of dollars." The downside would be that projects would be done on MMSD's timetable, not Wauwatosa's.

School Board to focus on safety questions

School safety – Meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Fischer Building, the Wauwatosa School Board will present an unusual agenda as it begins with a Committee of the Whole session, scheduled for one hour.

The members of the board will discuss and report on local policy resolutions and recommendations in light of the national debate on school safety in the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

New courses – The board will be asked to approve the creation of two new high school courses, Project Lead the Way Biotechnical Engineering and Advanced Placement Physics C.

Betty January 28, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Great idea. They finally learned from the Meinecke sewer debacle that they need to inform and engage with their constituents.

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