Walker proposes selling county’s Park East land to city

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has proposed selling the county’s land in the Park East corridor to the city of Milwaukee.

In his "state of the county" address this week, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker proposed selling the county’s land in the Park East corridor to the city of Milwaukee.

"One of the biggest and most visible tracts of land that is ripe for development is the Park East Corridor," Walker said. "To jump start work on this area, I propose selling all of the Park East county land to the City of Milwaukee. City officials have the tools necessary for a large-scale project and they need the flexibility to attract a wide range of interests."

Five years after the Park East Freeway was torn down to free up land for development, there is still no development occurring on any of the land owned by Milwaukee County in the Park East corridor.

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 union-scale 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.

In his state of the county address, Walker said the PERC should be repealed by the County Board.

Walker made two other real estate related proposals in his state of the county address:

He called on the County Board to approve a proposal to provide land on the County Grounds in Wauwatosa for a new University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Walker also said the County Board should approve his plan to move the mental health complex to the site of the former St. Michael Hospital at 2400 W. Villard Ave., Milwaukee.

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