Preserve Our Parks says it will sue if Transit Center sold to Barrett

Charles Kamps, a board member of parks advocacy group Preserve Our Parks, said the group will file a lawsuit if Milwaukee County sells the Downtown Transit Center property to developer Rick Barrett.

Barrett, owner of Barrett Visionary Development, plans to build a 44-story hotel and luxury apartment tower on the site for the bus transfer and storage facility, located southwest of Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive near the lakefront.

Preserve Our Parks has opposed the project saying the eastern two-thirds of the site lies in the original Lake Michigan lakebed and that private development there would be a violation of the state’s public trust doctrine.

In the state budget approved earlier this year the Legislature established that the site is not subject to the public trust doctrine. But Kamps said Preserve Our Parks is ready to challenge the constitutionality of that legislation.

“(That legislation) isn’t going to carry the day,” Kamps said. “The public trust doctrine is the reason we have an open lakefront that isn’t cluttered with high rise apartments and hotels.”

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