From: “Lynn Broaddus” <lynn_broaddus@mkeriverkeeper.org>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 15:08:08 −0500
Subject: [MCCC Yahoo] FW: Eschweiler Buildings at the Milwaukee County Grounds - Does the County Care??

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One of the key components in planning for the Milwaukee County Grounds has been the protection and restoration of the “Eschweiler Buildings”. For anyone who’s been over there lately, it’s been dismaying to see that no one seems to be paying attention to them.

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Cynical people might think that the County leadership was intentionally neglecting them, waiting for them to fall apart so that the site can be sold to a developer who can start from scratch with unimaginative, but quick and easy, (big box??) buildout.

As MMSD’s work at the Milwaukee County Grounds proceeds and now is cutting off the road that leads back to these buildings, the situation has attracted the attention of Wauwatosa Mayor Estness. Her letter (below) is a summary of the decisions made about the buildings, and asks the County what their plans are (and whether they need to return federal funds). After receiving a copy of the letter, I called the Mayor as a follow up. As of this time, she has not received any response from the County.
If you need answers, maybe your county supervisor is the best place to start?
Lynn E. Broaddus, Executive Director
Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers
September 29, 2006

Mr. Robert Dennik
Director of Economic Development
Milwaukee County
2711 W. Wells Street
City Campus, Suite 506
Milwaukee, WI 53208
RE: Milwaukee County Grounds Eschweiler Buildings

Dear Mr. Dennik:
During the course of the on-going detention basin work by MMSD at the county grounds, it has become apparent that Milwaukee County has cut off all utilities and the district has begun piling excavated dirt over the road leading to the Eschweiler buildings. Given the extent of the work being conducted by MMSD I understand that some of these activities may be unavoidable.
However, I am concerned that Milwaukee County may be irretrievably damaging these historic properties by simple neglect.

In 2003, at multiple open house meetings at Wauwatosa West High School, I and the County Executive listened to public opinion on the redevelopment of the 65-acre economic development
zone on the northeast quadrant. The loudest message that emerged from those two meetings was that the public clearly told the County Executive and me that preservation of the Eschweiler buildings is a key component to any land use decision on the northeast quadrant. This sentiment also mirrors a 1999 Milwaukee County Grounds Land Use Planning Committee
recommendation. Also in 2003, the City and the County selected and paid for consultants to create a plan and design guidelines for the redevelopment of the 65-acre economic development zone. During the development of this plan the consultants interviewed City and County officials and outside organizations and individuals with an interest in the county grounds. This plan took into account the public comment from the Wauwatosa West meetings. Based upon these interviews and meetings, preservation and re-use of the Eschweiler buildings was prominently mentioned.

Using Federal Community Development Block Grant funds, the City expended $50,000 in 2004 toward rehabilitation and repairs on the S-5 building. This enabled the tenant, Land Information
Services, to turn that building into a usable, revenue generating property for the County. Given the subsequent removal of the tenant and possible long-term abandonment of the S-5 building, I am concerned that this may be a misuse of federal funds. Due to this concern we are now speaking with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to get a clarification on whether it is necessary for the County to reimburse these Federal funds.

In late 2004, the City of Wauwatosa and Milwaukee County agreed to split the costs of sealing the Eschweiler Administration building for the purpose of preventing further deterioration of the building from elemental, animal, and human encroachment. This partnership resulted in the City and the County spending $13,430 each for interior clean-up and removal of large amounts
of debris and animal waste from the interior of this property.
In light of this past cooperation, including promises from me and the County Executive and the tax dollars spent to help preserve the Eschweiler buildings, I am sure you agree that at a minimum it is folly and at worst, a waste of taxpayer dollars, to see these buildings further deteriorate. This is especially true because so much time and money was spent to prevent just that.

The City of Wauwatosa urges Milwaukee County to continue this partnership in protecting these local landmarks and I am eager to know what plans you have for their future. I look forward to
hearing your response.

Sincerely,
Theresa M. Estness
Mayor

cc: County Executive Scott Walker

 County Supervisor Jim Schmitt 
 County Supervisor Lynn DeBruin 
 Mr. Kevin Shafer, Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District 
 Wauwatosa Common Council Members 
 Wauwatosa Historical Society 
 State Historical Society of Wisconsin 
 Wauwatosa Preservation Commission 
 National Register of Historic Places 
Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on October 06, 2006

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