CARW says county should transfer Park East land to city

The board of directors for the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW) said this week that Milwaukee County should transfer its land in the Park East corridor to the City of Milwaukee.

CARW is endorsing the proposal made by Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker in his 2009 State of the County address. The proposal called for the county to sell its Park East land to the city.

"The city has the tools, resources and expertise to work directly with potential developers and investors, as well as the county to ensure the best and most effective use of the property," said CARW president Jim Villa. "Eliminating a layer of government jurisdiction and placing the responsibility for progress solely in the hands of one entity is the best plan of action to make sure we see shovels in the ground in the foreseeable future."

Five years after the Park East Freeway was torn down, there is still no development occurring on any of the land owned by Milwaukee County in the Park East corridor. However, several developments have occurred on privately owned sites around the county-owned land.

Development of the county-owned land is subject to higher standards to ensure that the projects create community benefits. The Milwaukee County Board adopted those standards, called the Park East Redevelopment Compact (PERC), for reviewing developments on the county-owned land in the Park East corridor. The PERC requires developers to pay prevailing wages for construction projects on the county land. In addition, the PERC indicates that developers that hire local employees, provide job training or create green space would be more likely to be selected.

However, developers criticized the PERC, saying it would discourage development. The Milwaukee Common Council rejected a proposal similar to the PERC.

The County Board approved the PERC by over-riding County Executive Scott Walker’s veto. Now Walker says the board should consider repealing the PERC.

However the County Board has given no indication that it supporters Walker’s proposals to repeal the PERC or to sell the county’s Park East land to the city.

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