Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:22 pm
The Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and a nonprofit group are planning to use the carrot rather than the stick to steer redevelopment in the Menomonee Valley toward resource-efficient, attractive structures.
Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc., Cedarburg, is currently working on a set of guidelines for redevelopment in the industrial valley, which bisects the city just south of the downtown.
The guidelines, according to principal Allen Washatko, are designed to ensure that redevelopment is sustainable economically, and undertaken to help restore the environmentally depleted river valley.
Compliance with the guidelines, which are being completed on behalf of MEDC and the nonprofit Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc. (MVP), will be a qualifying factor for brownfields remediation loan programs administered by MEDC.
According to Brian Reilly of MEDC, the guidelines are designed to make it easier for businesses to conform to MVP’s land-use plan. Both Wisconsin Act 9 – the previous state biennial budget – and Gov. Scott McCallum’s proposed budget make funding available for brownfields remediation in the valley – but those funds are contingent on compliance with MVP’s plan.
Reilly said regardless of the grant money, complying with the guidelines would make good economic sense.
"We think a business following these guidelines is a more competitive business," Reilly said. "These businesses are not wasting money on energy that’s going out the window. That’s saving money the business can do other things with, like repay the loan."
The last biennial budget provided for up to $900,000 in grants from the Department of Commerce to MEDC for a revolving loan fund to help businesses pay for brownfields remediation in the Menomonee Valley.
As currently proposed, the pending biennial budget includes $375,000 per year for the next two years for MEDC and an additional $375,000 per year for MVP.
On May 6, the city also received $6 million from the US Environmental Protection Agency to fund brownfields cleanup.
Proposed Menomonee Valley redevelopment guidelines
Sustainable site design
Minimization of paved areas
Use of native grasses
Provision for mass transportation
Building energy use
Angling building to maximize natural light and heat
Surpassing code for energy efficiency
Use of high-efficiency lighting
Waste prevention and recycling
Indoor air quality
Specifying a smoke-free environment
Use of adhesives and finishes that do not emit toxic gases
Direct exhaust for areas that generate moisture and pollution
Isolation of noise from mechanical systems
Materials and Resources
Re-use of existing buildings
Multi-story construction to maximize use of land
High recycled content
Use of local/regional materials
Provide for no net increase in runoff
Limit watering with potable water
Allow a 75-foot easement between buildings and the river with plantings of native grasses
Responsible Construction Management
Minimize area driven on during construction to eliminate unnecessary compaction
Decompact sites before seeding
Implement a construction waste management and recycling plan
May 24, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee