important hearing, scuttle the USS Des Moines at the Lakefront

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Below is a flyer detailing information on a public hearing on Wednesday Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m., on plans to permanently berth the USS Des Moines at the lakefront. The hearing is at the Harbor Lights Room, Downtown Transit Center, 909 E. Michigan St. (Enter the Transit Center via the ground floor on the south side of Michigan and go to the 2nd floor.)

The flyer is in two forms: a text document (below), and a PDF attachment.

Please forward this as soon as possible to as many people as possible. Ask them to forward it as well. Because of the Holiday, we also ask that you resend it in early January.


Save Our Lakefront!
Why berthing the USS Des Moines
at the Lakefront is a bad idea.

Plans are underway to berth the 1948 warship the USS Des Moines along Milwaukee’s Lakefront at Veteran’s Park - an urban green space nationally recognized for its public access and unparalleled views of Lake Michigan. Here are five reasons the plan is a bad idea.

Costs. The cruiser is currently moth-balled at a Philadelphia shipyard and approximately $20 million is needed to bring it to Milwaukee. Supporters say they will raise private funds but have not demonstrated the ability to do so. Nor have they been able to ensure the project’s long-term financial viability. Will taxpayers be left footing the bill? Why should USS Des Moines promoters be given a 99-year rent-free lease, as they have proposed?

A tourist attraction is inappropriate. If there is $20 million available, it would be better spent on social services for veterans or a more solemn tribute. A tourist attraction charging an entrance fee and relying on parties and camp-outs is not a fitting tribute.

  • $20 million could be better used to protect Soldiers Home, a true tribute to combat veterans. In fact, veterans built Soldiers Home with their own money.

  • The Iowa should be scrapped to provide armor for our troops in Iraq.

Lakefront views will be obstructed. The ship is the length of two football fields and its main bulk is six stories high. Utility hookups will be needed. In addition, the project will undoubtedly need night-time lighting and barbed-wire fencing to maintain security.

Public access will be threatened. Given the ship’s size, location and need for security, public access to the lakefront will be severely restricted. Other popular activities may be jeopardized - from kite-flying, to sailing within the breakwater (the ship is so big it will block the wind) to the Lakefront’s signature public event, the July 3 fireworks.

The plan is ill-conceived. Supporters have not answered essential questions about parking, utility needs, or finances. Nor have proponents provided sufficient information about dredging the lake in order to accommodate the ship and constructing an additional breakwater to protect it. In 1998, citizens in Duluth defeated a proposal to bring the USS Des Moines to their city by a 60%−40% vote. Milwaukee does not need the rejected projects of other cities.

Environmental contamination. Old warships are notorious for problems of asbestos, lead-based paint, mercury, and PCB’s. There has been little discussion of the environmental repercussions of parking needs, bus and delivery access, and increased car and bus traffic.

Mark your calendars for Jan. 19, 2005
A public hearing will be held on Wednesday Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m., at the Harbor Lights Room, Downtown Transit Center, 909 E. Michigan St. (Enter the Transit Center via the ground floor on the south side of Michigan and go to the 2nd floor.)

Leaflet prepared by Preserve Our Parks, a non-profit group dedicated to defending public access and green space at our parks and to protecting Milwaukee’s downtown lakefront.

Visit the Preserve Our Parks web-site ( for updates

At 10:48 AM 12/18/2004, Barbara Miner wrote:
Subject: Re: Oppose puting huge Naval ship on Milw.’s Lakefront - Jan. 19
Cc: “William Sell” <county …snip… Godsil” <>
To: “Art Heitzer” <>
From: Barbara Miner <>

Art (and Bill and Jim)
A very very good point re how $20 million could be used to truly
support Vets. Perhaps Jim might want to write a letter to the editor to
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on that issue????
Take care

Barbara Miner
1247 E. Burleigh St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414–264–3600

From: “Virginia Cassel” <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: Godsil Here Against Big Ship on the Lake

Jim -
Donna Schleiman has done a lot of work, I believe, against this proposal.
You might want to talk to her, too.


Subject: [riverwurst] Inspire City Architect Greenstreet to Save the Lake Front and

  the Soldiers Home 

Dear All,

It makes much sense for a renowned architecture professor and the official city architect to offer some aesthetic insight and the weight of deep architectural and design tradition to prevent our fair city from wasting time on this totally bizarre and tasteless lakefront battleship scheme.

Might anyone inspire Professor Greenstreet to address the people, the common council, and the Mayor, about this issue?

Bob Greenstreet <>

Professor Greenstreet should be invited into the loop that finds the NAACP, the Save the Soldiers Home Movement, and now, the ecology movement, thinking about saving the priceless Soldiers Home and sparing us the national humiliation of a huge battleship next door to the Calatrava!

The NAACP National Convention of this July 9–14 should be invited to the glory of a Soldiers Home the City of Milwaukee decides to save, honoring forgotten minority veterans. They should not be subject to the folly of a city squandering a priceless lakefront for a cheapening tourist scam.

Giant battleship monuments belong at giant ocean ports!

Sacred Civil War era buildings and grounds belong where they started, beautiful, intact, and inspiring.

I would love to give the proponents of this battleship scheme a tour of our currently rotting Soldiers Home buildings and see if they can say, with a straight face, along side of 43,000 graves, that the Soldiers Home should rot and a battleship scheme be funded.

Milwaukee blocked a freeway from the Lakefront a generation ago! It blocked the big bourgeois from taking all of the lakefront property two generations ago. We owe it to the future and our ancestors to block this thoughtless plan.

Does anyone in our group have Greenstreet’s “ear?”

What say?

Clear sailing,


Last edited by BillSell. Based on work by g.  Page last modified on December 20, 2004

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