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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« Kevin Barrett: Someone Else's Billy Goat | Main | Remembering Those Who Cared - Med Flight »

May 13, 2008

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Charlie

Can you imagine Jerry Frautschi or Pleasant Rowland doing something like that? Neither can I.

Dan Sebald

First, let me say it's a generous gift from an individual and I agree with the thought of it, but details are lacking. You forgot to mention that Zilber's intent is for this to be a catalyst for similar large donations. That might make the initiative a little more substantial.

However, I think people are greatly over-estimating the extent to which $50 million can help one, no less ten neighborhoods in a big city (and over ten years?). In Chicago/Milwaukee, that'd probably be one block of two-story row houses. There will be administrative and planning costs running probably ten percent.

There are some great things happening in Milwaukee along the east, lakeside neighborhoods. But go west of the river into MLK Boulevard and North Avenue and there hasn't been the infusion of resources there should be. There have been new building projects here and there, but the overall commerce and continuity of the street is no better than it was twenty five years ago, even worse in some spots. $50M won't go far in those neighborhoods.

Now breaking down that 3/4 mile of interstate-to-nowhere near MSOE/Water Street was a brilliant idea. It opened so much space for new development and got rid of a barrier between the downtown and MLK Boulevard that will hopefully help over decades.

Of course, these types of projects make the city that much more lazy and inattentive. If anything, the $50 could be put toward planning and forcing the city to commit to a long-term, continual plan. I like the idea of jobs for the citizens. (You convinced us of that Paul.) If this donation could spark that, it would be successful.

Sprawl is always an issue and Milwaukee was sort of a pilot program in how to not do things (i.e., the Northridge/Southridge model). Perhaps the city could be compacted some and return the edges of the city, like the 1960s/1970s big-box parking lots, back to green space rather than to appliance/home-builder stores.

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