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Updated: Multi-Residential Building in Redevelopment Concepts Stirs Resident Concern

In response to residents' concerns about a multi-family residential building that could be part of a future Village Center redevelopment on Parking Street, Greendale officials decided to hold a second open house on the concept plans.

The will schedule a second open house for future Village Center redevelopment concepts on Parking Street after residents expressed concerns over a multi-family residential building.

Wednesday night’s Planning Commission meeting was meant to be a concept planning exercise among commissioners, however, some residents expressed concerns over the building. A second open house was proposed by Trustee Sally Chadwick to get more input on the concepts.

, designed by Milwaukee-based engineering firm GRAEF, for the redevelopment of Parking Street in the Village Center. Most of the redevelopment would be taking place at the parking lot on Parking Street.  Some of the concepts even call for adding multi-family residential buildings and eliminating the playing field near Greendale Middle School.

Conversations about the Municipal Parking Lot area redevelopment in the Village Center flourished after the Historical Society presented their plan for 

"The idea to develop a conceptual plan in accordance with State and Federal requirements for historic buildings for the future use of the Municipal Parking Lot Area, which includes the former Police Station, Grounds Building and Hose tower, and Municipal Parking Lot was approved by the Village Board and the Greendale Historical Society in a Letter of Understanding approved in 2011," wrote Michaels in an e-mail. 

The redevelopment is meant to enhance tax base growth and stability, improve the vitality of the downtown area, attract more businesses and build the Village's reputation and value. Village President John Hermes said the value of the land would approximately increase by $10 million if this redevelopment were to happen. He also said the village is looking to private developers to finance the redevelopment of current and new buildings, along with some village financing for areas like green spaces. 

Offiicals said that a developer has not been identified but some have shown interest. They also said it would be at least six to eight months till have a timeline for this project. 

Residents at the Planning Commission meeting were not fond of the multi-family residential units in all five concepts or the idea of eliminating the playing field. They believe the buildings will bring congestion to the village center.

“It is more parking you’re going to need and creating a more congested area,” Jackie Kraemer said resident.

Village Manager Todd Michaels said that the number of spots would be replaced with almost the same number or more spots of angle parking. The residents in the units would have to have underground parking.

Village officials said that the underutilized parking lot could be redeveloped to bring life into the Village Center and help out the struggling business on Broad Street.

Some residents argued that the parking lot is used, especially during snow emergencies when they can’t park in the street.

Another resident asked if there have been “studies where you have seen more residential buildings draw more business to a downtown area?”

Michaels said that it has been a national trend and it seems to be working. 

“I have to try to ask the questions for the village," he said. "If the village doesn’t want to do this I’ve been successful but in five years when parking lots are empty and so is downtown question why we didn’t do anything has been answered with this exercise.”

Hermes said that Greendale has historically been a planned community and that is exactly what they are trying to do with the exercises presented at the meeting.

“The issue sits on a village center that was originally built to provide means of shopping retail and services for the residents here,” Hermes said. “That need has changed… They don’t service a need to the residents truly any longer, there’s couple that do.”

To help bring more attention to the Village Center a road leading from Southridge Mall into Northway was built last year. They are also reviewing possibly adding an archway sign on Northway and an LED sign on Loomis to attract more people into the downtown.

Many of the residents at the meeting said they don’t believe the redevelopment will help the businesses.

Resident Rolando del Castillo suggested bringing theater entertainment to the Village Center to attract people in the metropolitan Milwaukee area instead of just Greendale people.

“The only thing we have decided is not to tear down the hose tower building,” said Michaels. “Everything else is up for discussion.”

Another open house will be scheduled and posted on the Village website and sent out in the newsletter. Village officials will again gather public input and bring it back for another planning commission meeting.

“We have an underutilized area of parking that is not being used to its full capacity,” Hermes said. “We also have an underutilized shopping district that is struggling and will continue to struggle unless we do something. This exercise is to really look at this as residents and a planned community.”

Bren March 17, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The Village board had no interest in our opinions about Walmart, but at least that civic planning error is located on the homogeneous chain store Shangri-la of S. 76th Street. Dollar signs get in the way of common sense with this board. This proposed project could ruin the historic appearance and beauty of our Village. It's worth a try to resist. I for one appreciate that open space for farmers' market, etc. It's an asset.
Nicki March 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Can we have a referendum on this? The poll here suggests that most people oppose such a structure. The parking lot is certainly not underutilized. I'm disappointed in the whole Walmart thing, as well. It appears that they lied and now are merrily going along with the project, even today the old bowling congress building is almost demolished.
Catherine March 18, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I find it incredible that Hermes states that the parking lot is an an "underutilized area of parking"! I guess he's never seen it on weekends even when the farmer's market is not in session. Also, St. Luke's Lutheran Church uses this parking lot for every service and function since their parking lot is so small. Does the church know about this plan? The last thing that Greendale needs is more multi-family housing units while so many that we have right now are sitting vacant. Also, eliminating the green space of the playing field sort of takes away the idea of Greendale. If anything, we need to keep the green spaces, not get rid of them.
Patty March 18, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Michaels comment about trying to "ask the question of the village" really bothers me. If Michaels can't come up with a plan that is beneficial to both the residents and shops he hasn't done his job, and maybe we should find someone who can.
John April 01, 2012 at 01:44 PM
We are the residents, we should demand a referendum. Let the residents speak for themselves. As a parent of Children at Canterbury Elementary, I can tell you that the class sizes are at their limit now with no room for expansion. If the this unit does eventually fill to capacity with family clientel, the board will be asking for your money to build a new or add on to an existing elementary school. Can't be search for more property tax revenue without putting the burden on residents on the back end when it comes to education???

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