Oak Creek has been awarded federal Surface Transportation Project grant of $2.8 million for its 5th Avenue relocation project to help open up the city’s lakefront.
The project will extend U.S. Highway 100 to connect with South Fifth Avenue along the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline. The project will include storm sewer, curb and gutter, medians, on-street bicycle accommodations, sidewalks and street lighting. It will include a new quiet zone railroad crossing.
“This roadway connection to the lakefront will give our residents something they haven’t had in a long time…access to the properties along Lake Michigan,” Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said today in a posting on Facebook. “This grant is a huge win in moving that process along.”
The STP grant funding was made possible through coordination efforts by the city, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) and the Southeastern Wisconsin Transportation Improvement Committee.
On Dec. 5, the city took a major step forward in the redevelopment of its lakefront, known as Lake Vista, as it accepted ownership of 98 acres of land along Lake Michigan’s shoreline from E. I. Du Pont de Nemours and EPEC Polymers Inc. The transfer of the properties came at no cost to the city.
Under the terms of agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Du Pont and EPEC spent $18 million to conduct the environmental investigation and to implement an environmental remediation plan, which included a two-foot clay cap over the majority of the site. The soil for the cap was obtained from excavation of soils during the reconstruction of the Mitchell Interchange.
Scaffidi said, “2015 marks Oak Creek’s 60th year as a city, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this moment in our history than by reclaiming the city’s lakefront and making these lands accessible to the public for the very first time.”
The city has committed to investing $14 million for new infrastructure to serve the Lake Vista development, which will include a new public park area that features a lakefront drive, bike paths, trails and other recreational amenities. Nearly 55 acres of the site remain available for private sector redevelopment. The city soon will be seeking private sector partners to play a role in the development of the properties.