Abele wants to co-locate county economic development office with DCD

    Chris Abele, one of the candidates for Milwaukee County executive, said today that if elected he will move the Milwaukee County economic development department into the city of Milwaukee office building occupied by the Department of City Development (DCD).
    By doing that, the Milwaukee County economic development staff will be able to work side-by-side with the Department of City Development on economic development projects, Abele said.
    “We all know the status quo is not working at Milwaukee County,” Abele said.
    By having the county’s economic development office and DCD work together they can better coordinate economic development efforts, Abele said.
    “We need to coordinate all of our tools together,” he said. “Problems arise when we see each other as Balkanized states. We want to make it as easy as possible (for businesses and developers).”
    Abele said the top priority of the county’s economic development office should be to work with DCD to attract development to the land owned by the county in the Park East corridor in downtown Milwaukee. The Park East freeway was torn down seven years ago, but none of the land owned by Milwaukee County in the former path of the freeway has attracted any development.
    In the past developers that wanted to build on the county land in the Park East would first negotiate with the county and then approach the city, which would often have different standards and requirements for a project, Barrett said. Communication between the city and county on Park East development proposals was poor, he said.
    Some have said the city should take over control, or purchase, the county’s Park East land.
    “I’d certainly look at absolutely anything,” Abele said. “(Seven) years of nothing happening is clearly not acceptable.”
    “I think Chris and I can work something out where we can streamline the process,” Barrett said.
    Abele also said he will personally participate in negotiations with businesses that are considering plans to move to Milwaukee County.
    – BizTimes MIlwaukee

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