Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:43 pm
The Milwaukee County Board is putting the brakes on plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) from developers who want to purchase and develop the 1.9-acre, county-owned parking lot at the southwest corner of West State Street and North Sixth Street in downtown Milwaukee.
The board recently declined to approve the RFP, and instead sent the matter back to its Economic and Community Development Committee.
"(Some supervisors) didn’t feel that this project fit into the master plan for the courthouse and for county property," said County Board spokesman Harold Mester. "They wanted a more coordinated effort to redevelop that site, especially considering that a lot of county employees park there. There is kind of a shortage of parking spots for county employees and people coming to the courthouse to conduct business."
Supervisors want to take a comprehensive look and create a plan for the courthouse area before moving forward with development for the Sixth and State streets site, Mester said. That could include coordination with city officials, who are working on a redevelopment plan for MacArthur Square, which is still in the conceptual phase. The preliminary plans for redeveloping MacArthur Square include a ramp in front of the Sixth Street side of the Sixth and Streets streets county parking lot property that would connect southbound traffic to a bridge that would elevate West Kilbourn Avenue up to MacArthur Square. The city’s plan also envisions development on the Sixth and Street streets parking lot site.
Another major reason that supervisors sent the RFP back to committee is because of the budget deficit in the county’s economic and community development division, Mester said. The county board was notified in March that there is a $3 million budget deficit for community development programs, which are administered by the economic and community development division, according to Supervisor John Weishan Jr.
"They didn’t want to put yet another project on that department when they already have so much stuff going on, they have a lot of other projects they are doing, and they’re losing money right now," Mester said. "I’m sure that eventually this project will be coming back to the board and they will be looking at doing an RFP for the long haul, but this time it just didn’t go through."