An idea for spurring Park East development

As Dan Cody noted, the tracts of land in the Park East area just north of Downtown that are owned by the City of Milwaukee have been developed, and are producing property tax revenue. Specifically, they are the Flat Iron condos, aLoft Hotel, and the North End condos.

According to the Department of City Development, “The Park East Corridor consists of over 60 acres, 24 of which are prime sites for redevelopment. The properties are located within the Milwaukee Downtown, in close proximity to the Milwaukee River. Milwaukee County owns 16 acres and is currently selling their properties through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.”

By Dan’s take on this, the County has not been at all proactive about getting the land developed. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where the City is talking to the County about doing something with it, as discussed in this JS article. It’s disappointing that the County-owned portions of land have not been developed, and strange, too. As the County needs more revenue, which it makes from property taxes, why wouldn’t it push harder for that land to be developed? Those answers are beyond me at the moment. But here’s my idea: why doesn’t the City buy the land from the County, and turn it around for resale and development? As the County has been quick to sell some of its finer assets, i.e. the County Grounds, a firm argument could be made for doing this. In these times of county budget deficits, that seems doubly enticing to me.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

One thought on “An idea for spurring Park East development”

  1. Jason,

    That would be a bad idea. You cannot expect the City to take on all that extra liability of not having the properties sold or developed in these risky economic times. That wouldn’t be fair to city tax payers.

    County property is the responsibility to the County. Unfortunately, Milwaukee County still does not have an economic development division, even though the money to fund it was approved last November. Perhaps if we had a county executive that was concerned about his job, things would move along much easier.

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