Chapter 7 - City of West Allis

Chapter 7 - City of West Allis

Chapter 7 PARKS, OPEN SPACE, NATURAL AND CULTURAL RESOURCES PARKS AND OPEN SPACE West Allis citizens are fortunate to have inherited a park and open s...

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Chapter 7 PARKS, OPEN SPACE, NATURAL AND CULTURAL RESOURCES PARKS AND OPEN SPACE West Allis citizens are fortunate to have inherited a park and open space system built by the vision and efforts of previous generations. Today, the City continues on a mission of enhancing the legacy of diverse local, County and State parklands; providing green space, safe environments, and recreational facilities; and meeting the changing needs of present and future generations. The City of West Allis’ parks and open spaces contribute to the City’s overall quality of life and create a sense of place and identity for the City (Figure 7-1). The City should work to restore those ecosystems that have been degraded over time, such as to “daylight” and “naturalize” the Honey Creek, protect and enhance those that are yet to be significantly disturbed, and promote the value of natural features and open spaces by maintaining a diverse, flexible, and interconnected park system. (“Daylight” means to restore/

unbury a previously diverted natural water feature and “naturalize” means to remove concrete embankments and revamping the banks along major portions of a water feature. Both measures would be designed to improve water quality, restore and stabilize eroding banks, to provide suitable habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife and to promote economic development). A Comprehensive Parks and Open Space Plan was adopted in 1996. This study was performed to inventory and assess the park and open space amenities available within West Allis. The report looked at active, passive and specialized spaces. The report identified potential improvements to match existing and future facilities with uses and standards. Future redevelopment initiatives will also provide opportunities to integrate parks, open spaces, and public gathering places into the design of residential neighborhoods and commercial centers. Incorporating unique and functional park spaces into even the most 7-1

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

intensely developed areas of the City encourages people to spend time in those places. Furthermore, trees, open spaces, and other natural landscape features not only add to the aesthetic value of the City, but also provide benefits such as flood control, improvements in air and water quality, and energy cost savings. Goal: To provide safe, attractive and functional active and passive recreational / open space which will meet the current and anticipated demand of the City’s residents of all ages and physical capabilities. ▪▪ Objective 1: Maintain and enhance current park systems and facilities. ◦◦

Recommendation 1.1: Appropriate sufficient annual funding to preserve and upgrade City parks.

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Recommendation 1.2: Work with the County and school system on maintaining current facilities.

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Recommendation 1.3: Update the Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan and continue to analyze recreational needs of the City, such as additional mini-parks, ball diamonds, soccer fields, community gardens, and a skate park. Incorporate these facilities into existing parks and future open space designated areas.

▪▪ Objective 2: Pedestrian streetscapes and public spaces. As part of future redevelopment plans within the City, require pedestrian oriented streetscapes (walkable/ bikeable) and incorporate open spaces as part of the development. ◦◦

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Recommendation 2.1: Adopt a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for the City. As the City implements roadway improvements through its Capital Improvements Program, it should review the opportunity to implement facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians.

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Recommendation 3.1: Development of additional mini-parks or neighborhood scale parks within a five minute walk (1320 feet) of residential neighborhoods. These parks should provide some of the following design characteristics:

Recommendation 2.2: Develop potential multi-use bike and pedestrian paths connecting to existing trail systems, neighborhoods and parks. Potential new multi-use paths include:

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Cross-Town Connector Trail

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Local connections to the Hank Aaron State Trail at S. 60 St., S. 70 St., State Fair Park, S. 94 Pl.

Potential locations for future high quality interactive parks may include:

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CITY OF WEST ALLIS

▪▪ Objective 3: Integrate park and open space. Integrate park and open space areas into residential neighborhoods whenever feasible.

A multi-use path within RR spur rightof-way between the north City limits and W. Mitchell St.

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Places to sit, gathering points, well defined entrances and visually accessible places, paths to desired destinations, pedestrian friendly design.

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Lincoln Crest Open Space (1900 block S. 102 St.)

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Hale Fields (behind WAPD at 11301 W. Lincoln and south of Hale HS)

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Root River Parkway (Milwaukee County)

Figure 7-1.

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COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

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Recommendation 3.2: Identify land available for cultivating community gardens that support the local economy, promotes public health and is a lower cost alternative to retail. Recommendation 3.3: The minimum recommended improvement to every school ground is to remove a substantial portion of its asphalt surface and replace it with a lawn area to act as a multiple use play field and/or area for neighborhood or community gardening. Native planting and tree areas are recommended on the periphery of new green playgrounds to help define the area, provide shade and improve the overall aesthetics of the site.

Goal: Preserve, protect and enhance existing natural resources and environmentally sensitive areas that contribute to the positive and distinctive character of the City. ▪▪ Objective 1: Improve water quality. Improve the quality of water in the Root River, Underwood, Honey Creek and Kinnickinnic drainage areas and associated tributaries. ◦◦

Recommendation 1.1: Continue to utilize general surface water “best management practices” and conservation design techniques, and coordinate with stormwater management objectives and policies outlined in the Utilities and Community Facilities element of this comprehensive plan.

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Recommendation 1.2: Continue to implement stormwater, sediment and site erosion control practices for all new development and redevelopment to ensure compliance with City regulations. In addition, construction site inspection methods shall be enforced to ensure that the erosion control is properly installed and maintained.

NATURAL RESOURCES Natural resources present in West Allis represent important visual, recreational and ecological assets. The most significant resources, in terms of size and quality, include the Root River, Honey Creek and Hale Creek areas. Other resources include State, County and City Parks, Parkways and related woodlands, wetlands and wildlife habitats. These areas total approximately 800 acres. While natural resources present challenges for management and protection, long-term investment in the maintenance and enhancement of natural resources will directly benefit those who live in, work in or visit the City.

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▪▪ Objective 2: Groundwater protection. Protect groundwater from surface contamination. ◦◦

Recommendation 2.1: As part of the site and landscaping design guidelines, maximize the efficiency of impervious/ paved surfaces by encouraging groundwater recharge through the use of infiltration practices in conjunction with surface water management for all new and redeveloping properties. Facilities such as bioswales, rain gardens or other stormwater management systems of appropriate scale should be considered in site design.

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and quantity of natural systems in the City.

Recommendation 2.2: Promote density through high quality, compact and mixed use development design for new or redeveloping areas.

(“Daylight” means to restore/unbury a previously diverted natural creek. “Naturalize” means removing concrete embankments and revamping the banks along major portions of a creek. Both measures would be designed to improve water quality, restore and stabilize eroding banks, to provide suitable habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife and promote economic development). ▪▪ Objective 4: Protect and enhance natural resources. Protect and enhance the quality of streams, woodlands and wetland resources.

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Recommendation 2.3: Explore the redevelopment opportunity of Conceptual Area 27 (S. 116 and Morgan Municipal Yard Site) for a conservation subdivision. This type of development, sometimes called cluster development, is intended to preserve green space in the City by using less land for individual lots, and maintaining the natural features of the land as much as possible.

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Recommendation 4.1: For new development and redevelopment, require wetland buffers with widths ranging from a minimum of 10 feet to 50 feet for wetlands. The buffers shall be maintained in a natural condition (not mowed) and, if planted, shall incorporate native vegetation.

▪▪ Objective 3: Improve natural habitats in open spaces. Maintain and support the system of public parks and open spaces that improve the value of wildlife habitat and natural vegetation communities. ◦◦

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Recommendation 4.2: Consider the possibility of developing a natural resource management and maintenance plan for City-owned parks and open space to include activities such as monitoring for the presence of invasive plant species and other non-native flora. The plan should be developed in coordination with the City Forester to ensure appropriate management and maintenance techniques are understood and used.

▪▪ Objective 5: Promote environmentally responsible industry. Encourage existing local industry to develop sustainable practices and environmental performance measures to reduce expenditures, gain competitive advantage and measurable reductions in environmental pollution. ◦◦

Recommendation 5.1: Compile interesting examples/case studies of sustainable manufacturing practices and eco-innovation and work with local industry to establish best practice measures.

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Recommendation 5.2: Develop an online resource for the above referenced best practices for knowledge sharing and networking.

▪▪ Objective 6: Coordinate preservation and restoration efforts. Coordinate preservation and restoration of natural resources with appropriate local, state and federal agencies.

Recommendation 3.1: In conjunction with MMSD and impacted private property owners, explore potential opportunities to “daylight” and “naturalize” the Honey Creek corridor. Consider the connectivity

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Honey Creek in the 1930s

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Recommendation 6.1: Continue to meet with representatives from the WDNR, Milwaukee and Waukesha County, MMSD, adjacent municipalities, COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

and others that share a mutual interest in the natural resource base within the City. In collaboration with other agencies, the City shall continue to share information about natural resources, coordinate and prioritize management efforts, and determine responsibilities and capabilities for implementation of management and implementation plans affiliated with the City’s natural resource base. ▪▪ Objective 7: Increase sustainability awareness and education. Increase awareness and education of issues related to sustainability best practices for West Allis and the larger metropolitan region. ◦◦

Recommendation 7.1: Establish a Citizen Advisory Committee (a Green Team) on sustainability to incorporate citizens into the policy making process.

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Recommendation 7.2: Adopt language into the Municipal Code stating that sustainability will be a guiding principal.

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Recommendation 7.3: Advertise sustainability initiatives on the City website

CITY OF WEST ALLIS

to highlight information and educate the public. ◦◦

Recommendation 7.4: Develop a demonstration project on City property with the intent of pursuing available grant opportunities (MMSD, WeEnergies, Focus on Energy). Examples of demonstration projects include a solar voltaic power project at the Farmers Market, reconstructing a Downtown parking lot with porous pavement, or wind turbines along portions of Interstate.

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Recommendation 7.5: Continue sending local staff, elected officials and Plan Commissioners to various training opportunities.

Ground Water

Why do I need to be concerned about ground water in planning for my community? Since groundwater gets into the ground at the land surface, it makes sense that what happens on the land surface can have impact on groundwater. In Wisconsin, 70% of the population and 97% of communities rely on groundwater as their drinking water source. Wisconsin has abundant quantities of high-quality groundwater, but once groundwater is contaminated, it’s expensive and often not technically possible to clean. Because of these factors, we need to be careful to protect our groundwater from contamination. Our activities on the land can contaminate groundwater - most contaminants originate on the land surface and filter down to the groundwater. In some cases however, groundwater can become contaminated from natural causes such as radioactivity due to the presence of radium in certain types of rocks. “Susceptibility of Groundwater to Pollutants” is defined here as the ease with which a contaminant can be transported from the land surface to the top of the groundwater called the “water table”. Many materials that overlie the groundwater offer good protection from contaminants that might be transported by infiltrating

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Protection of wetlands is endorsed through federal, state and local regulations because of their values for wildlife, flood control, water filtering capacity, vegetative diversity and aesthetics. Floodplain areas in the City are designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In cooperation with FEMA, the State of Wisconsin and the City of West Allis actively enforce regulations limiting development within the designated floodplain area. Such areas are those potentially subject to the 100-year flood event (e.g., a storm that has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year) adjacent to navigable waters. Properties outside of identified floodplain areas are not necessarily immune from flooding, as was evidenced in the significant flooding events that occurred in the City during 2008 and 2009. waters. The amount of protection offered by the overlying material varies, however, depending on the materials. Thus, in some areas, the overlying soil and bedrock materials allow contaminants to reach the groundwater more easily than in other areas of the state. Detailed information regarding groundwater can be found at the DNR’s website: http://dnr.wi.gov/. Surface Water In West Allis, the ultimate source of our drinking water is Lake Michigan, a surface water source. As water flows through rivers and lakes and over surfaces, naturally occurring substances may be dissolved in the water. Water may also be affected by animals and/ or human activities. Any substances that are added to water are contaminants. Surface water sources may be highly susceptible to contaminants. Contaminants that might be expected in untreated water include inorganic contaminants such as salts and metals; biological contaminants such as viruses, protozoa and bacteria;

organic chemicals from industrial or petroleum use; pesticides and herbicides, and radioactive materials. Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate the water poses a health risk. The West Allis Municipal Water Utility is totally committed to protecting the health of the public served by our system. The Utility routinely tests the water for coliform bacteria seventy times a month. Wetlands & Floodplains Wetlands are areas in which the water table is at, near, or above the land surface, and which are characterized by hydric soils and by the growth of wetland vegetation. Within the City of West Allis, wetlands are limited to the Underwood Creek drainage, Root River and Hale Creek areas.

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The floodplain boundaries are delineated on Figure 7-2. Development is strongly discouraged and generally prohibited in floodplains, so as to avoid both on-site and property damage both up and downstream. The City updated its floodplain zoning regulations in 2006 to meet current State and Federal requirements. Environmental Corridors Natural resource features in the City of West Allis include corridors and acreage in which wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitat and other features of environmental merit are concentrated. Within West Allis, two “secondary” environmental corridors that possess natural resource merit have been identified by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC).

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

As defined by SEWRPC: ▪▪ Primary environmental corridors contain concentrations of our most significant natural resources. They are at least 400 acres in size, at least two miles long, and at least 200 feet wide. ▪▪ Secondary environmental corridors contain significant but smaller concentrations of natural resources. They are at least 100 acres in size and at least one mile long, unless serving to link primary corridors. ▪▪ Isolated natural resource areas contain significant remaining resources apart from environmental corridors. They are at least five acres in size and at least 200 feet wide.

Development is generally prohibited in environmental corridors, due to ordinances and statues that regulate development in wetland and floodplain areas. Environmental corridors for West Allis are shown on Figure 7-2. Soils and Brownfield Redevelopment Soil is an integral part of the natural protection of groundwater from surface-applied contaminants. Attenuation is a series of complex processes, all of which are not clearly understood. During attenuation, the soil holds essential plant nutrients for uptake by agronomic crops, immobilizes metals that might be contained in municipal sewage sludge, or removes bacteria contained in animal or human wastes. However, the natural contaminant attenuation capacity of the soil, like that of any other natural resource, is limited; sometimes soils that retain contaminants become contaminated. Cleaning contaminated soil can be as difficult as cleaning contaminated groundwater. Soil properties exert a strong influence on the manner in which land is developed and used. Since the City of West Allis is essentially fully built, the need for evaluation of soil types is limited to redeveloping properties.

The Root River area along the western periphery of the City is designated as a “secondary environmental corridor” due to its connectivity to natural resources that originate in the City and extend south to Racine before emptying into Lake Michigan. The Underwood Creek drainage that bisects the City of Brookfield, City of Wauwatosa and West Allis is also classified as a “secondary environmental corridor.”

CITY OF WEST ALLIS

Soils that represent an obstacle to physical development are those typically associated with hydric properties. These soils are characterized by poor drainage and a shallow depth to the water table. As such, the properties of these soils are somewhat unstable, and include high compressibility, low bearing capacity, seasonal high water tables and occasional flooding. The Revised Municipal Code requires that all proposals for development or redevelopment include a map that describes soils by hydrologic group as a component of the Stormwater Management Plan.

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While every community’s land use priorities are unique to its citizens and resources, nearly every community has one or more parcels of industrial or commercial property that are abandoned or underutilized because of concerns about environmental contamination. These properties are known as “brownfields.” Cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield properties plays an important role in land use planning by making productive use of previously developed land, while minimizing relocation and sprawl into green spaces and undeveloped areas, such as productive farmland. West Allis was formed around its industry, but our heritage has not come without a cost. Manufacturing byproducts such as sludge, coal ash, foundry sand, foundry slag, petroleum products, metals and other solid waste have been deposited in our soil. Fortunately, City leaders have been proactive in encouraging urban redevelopment. Since 1992, the City of West Allis has created 11 Tax incremental (TIF) Districts throughout the City to eliminate blight, clean up brownfield sites and stimulate industrial and residential growth. The TIF’s in West Allis are geographically varied and contain all types of property, including residential, commercial and industrial (Figure 7-3). The value of TIF districts in West Allis is already producing real and noticeable benefits. The City contains three closed districts, which have provided over $50 million in increased value to the City. To further put this into perspective, these three districts generate $1,175,928 annually in additional tax revenue, of which $430,037 goes directly to the City. Likewise, the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District receives nearly $370,000 and Milwaukee County receives $206,000 in higher annual tax revenue from TIF. For an overview of all TIF districts refer to the summary paper titled, “A Status Report on TIF in West Allis,” which is available at City Hall.

Figure 7-2.

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COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

Tax Incremental Financing Districts § ¦ ¨

£ ¤ 45

94

S. 56th St.

S. 70th St.

S. 84th St.

S. 92nd St.

S. 60th St.

94

S. 100th St.

W. Fairview Ave.

S. 76th St.

§ ¦ ¨

S. 108th St.

S. 124th St.

S. 116th St.

Figure 7-3. West Allis TIF Districts

TIF District 3

W. Schlinger Ave. TIF District 1 TIF District 7

W. Greenfield Ave.

TIF District 11

W. Greenfield Ave.

TIF District 2 TIF District 5

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TIF District 4

894

TIF District 9

W. Burnham St. Railroad TIF District 10 TIF District 6

TIF District 8

W. Lincoln Ave.

W. Lincoln Ave.

W. Cleveland Ave. W. Cleveland Ave.

45

0.25

S. 84th St. 0.5

S. 108th St.

S. 116th St.

S. 124th St.

0

W. Morgan Ave.

W. Morgan Ave.

CITY OF WEST ALLIS

S. 92nd St.

S. 100th St.

£ ¤

S. 76th St.

W. Oklahoma Ave. W. Oklahoma Ave.

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1 Miles

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LEGEND

TIF District 1 TIF District 2 TIF District 3 TIF District 4 TIF District 5 TIF District 6

TIF District 7 TIF District 8 TIF District 9 TIF District 10 TIF District 11

TIF 1, TIF 4, and TIF 8 are closed

Comprehensive Plan 2030

Trees Trees are important components of a community’s green infrastructure. A healthy population of trees offers substantial environmental benefits, including cleaner air and water, cooler temperatures, quieter streets and wildlife habitat. In addition, there is

a DNR urban forestry grant that was used to purchase Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. The City can now graphically display tree location, species, size and management activities. These documents build upon the City’s history of decisions and actions to create and maintain urban forest resources. The master street tree planting plan is being revised to improve the future tree diversification of the urban forest. This diversification will reduce the impact of exotic pests such as the Emerald Ash Borer. Trees are more than just an amenity. Trees play multiple, fundamental roles in the continued health of urban communities and should be regarded in the same light as other urban infrastructure elements. Actually trees are the only element in a city’s infrastructure that appreciates. Within the City of West Allis it is estimated that the total value of trees is over $20,000,000 (an average value of about $1,000 per tree).

evidence linking trees to healthier patterns of individual and neighborhood functioning. The presence of trees can be a decisive factor in the extent to which residents actually use and take ownership of residential spaces. Views of vegetation have been shown to reduce stress, improve healing, and reduce driving frustrations and aggression. Business districts with trees are considered more desirable and are thought to have more desirable goods and services. West Allis became a Tree City U.S.A. in 1976 and continues to maintain the management criteria. In 1998 the City purchased tree inventory software and re-inventoried the City in part through a Department of Natural Resources urban forestry grant. This enabled the City to generate current reports on the urban forest, thereby improving the efficiency of the management of pruning removal and planting operations. In 2008 the City’s Forestry Department improved its level of service with technological improvements made possible through

DID YOU KNOW? ▪▪ The City’s urban forest contains 21,999 trees. ▪▪ There are 1,854 planting locations. ▪▪ Approximately 60% of our trees are less than 12” in diameter. ▪▪ Over the last 20 years the City has increased its diversity from 9 to 39 genera (type/ genus). However maple and ash continue to be the dominant genera.

Rare Species Occurrences According to the DNR, there are occurrences of both aquatic and terrestrial rare species in the City. The Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) maps and data are a useful tool for the public to use in identifying areas with known occurrences of rare species (endangered, threatened and special concern) and other sensitive resources (high-quality natural communities and significant natural features) to the section level. Detailed information regarding the types of endangered animals, plants, and natural communities can be found at the DNR’s website: http://dnr.wi.gov/. Metallic and Non-metallic Mineral Resources The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the agency that has the primary responsibility for regulating environmental aspects of metallic mining activities in the state. Within DNR, the Waste Management Program has a lead role in regulating metallic mining activities, including metallic mineral exploration (drilling), prospecting (bulk sampling), mining and mining waste disposal. The Waste Management Program also regulates oil and gas exploration and has oversight over locally administered nonmetallic mining reclamation programs. There are no identified mineral resources, current extraction operations, or historic excavation sites that warrant land reclamation. Landforms/Topography The topography in the Milwaukee County region was shaped over 10,000 years ago by Wisconsin’s most recent period of glacial activity. The landscape is generally characterized by gently rolling moraines and

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COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

drumlins that were formed by material deposited along the edges of the ice sheet during the glacier’s retreat. However, the topography within the City of West Allis’s municipal limits is generally uniform, with small areas of 12 percent to 20 percent slopes located in the western portion of the City. The highest point of West Allis is located on S. 93rd Street and W. Manitoba Street, and the city’s lowest point is along the Kinnickinnic River Parkway near S. 54th Street and W. Rita Drive. Agricultural Resources No land in the City is zoned for agricultural use. Because West Allis is a first ring suburb of the City of Milwaukee, conversion of agricultural land to other uses occurred long ago. Furthermore, land in the City is far more valuable for development than continued farming activities. Local Food Production Despite the City being built out in an urban form, a small local food production project has been implemented

through the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District and is worth mention.

CULTURAL RESOURCES PLANNING

Starting in 2008, the James E. Dottke Alternative High School annually erects a temporary greenhouse on campus located at the intersection of S. 86 St. and W. National Ave to complement its community garden along W. National Ave. This School District effort combines growing local and national trends in urban agriculture and community sustainability, with the education of “at-risk” and/or disenfranchised youth. This program aims to reestablish these students into contributors to the community by reinforcing positive activities and interactions. Students enrolled in the “Whole Foods for All” initiative learn the biological aspects of agriculture, by following the entire plant life cycle through, harvesting, distribution, meal preparation and food processing. Potential connections also exist for involvement with the local neighborhood, food pantry and the West Allis Farmers Market. The High School has annually erected a temporary green house on its campus.

Historic Downtown West Allis

Community Design Preservation of historic and culturally defining resources provides an important sense of social and cultural continuity between the past, present and future. Historic and cultural preservation can also provide economic benefits to communities through appreciation and stabilization in property values and long-term residency. In 2006, the City of West Allis and its Historical Commission applied for, and received, a historic preservation grant-in-aid from the National Park Service and administered by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Heritage Research, Ltd. was selected to conduct a Historical and Architectural Resources Survey. A previous survey from 1981 was re-evaluated in conjunction with additional survey work for a total of 1,019 property evaluations. A copy of the survey

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may be obtained by contacting the Department of Development or by visiting the City’s web site. The following Goal, Objectives and Findings have been employed in the continued success and cultural development within the City: Goal: To develop a local preservation plan and to increase public and private sector awareness of the community’s historical and architectural heritage. ▪▪ Objective 1: Identify historic resources. Identify buildings, structures, sites and historic districts that meet the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (Figure 7-4). ◦◦

Recommendation 1.1: Update the historical survey every 10 years to identify new historically significant locations within the City.

▪▪ Objective 2: Increase awareness of historic resources. Increase public and private sector awareness of the community’s historical and architectural heritage. ◦◦

Recommendation 2.1: Implement the findings of the historic resources survey, as described below.

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Finding 1: Identified seven (7) historic districts considered eligible for the National Register: --

Ahrens Arms #2 Apartments

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Conrad Apartments Historic District

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Honey Acres Ranch Historic District

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Juneau Highlands Residential Historic District

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--

Kopperud Park Residential Historic District

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Mitchell Manor Residential Historic District

--

West Monona Place Residential Historic District

Alexander H. McMicken residence at 1508 S. 80th Street. Built circa 1910, this house is considered the best example of the Craftsman style in the entire City.

Finding 2: Identified 60 individual properties considered eligible for the National Register: --

41 properties are thought to be eligible

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6 are thought to be ineligible based on alterations

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13 are not yet fifty years of age

Implementation Status: Since the completion of the survey, the City issued an RFP and contracted with a consultant to pursue designation of at least one historic district and three historic properties. --

In September 2008, Juneau Highlands was selected for designation as West Allis’ first historic district.

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As of January 2009, the City is pursuing designation of 3 individual properties for designation on the National Historic Register:

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Kegel’s Inn Restaurant – 5901 W. National Ave. In 1925, John T. Kegel and his wife Anna established Kegel’s Place in the east half of the subject building. Like many other area “soft drink parlors” during Prohibition, the Kegel family brewed bootleg beer and other liquor was also “smuggled” in. In 1933, the Kegels took over the

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

Figure 7-4.

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previously rented, west half of the building and began renovations. The result of the significant remodeling project produced the current Old English-style, Tudor Revival edifice which is sheathed with Lannon stone was designed by Milwaukee architect Mark Pfaller, as “the largest tavern built since the return of beer.” Church and Chapel, 7622-26 W. Greenfield Ave. This two-story Period Tudor Revival-style funeral home/residence is faced with

limestone; the primary facade of which faces W. Greenfield Avenue. This funeral home and residence was built in 1936 by Frank Koelsch and was originally known as the Frank Koelsch Funeral Home. The approximate cost of the structure was $20,000 and was designed by Raymond W. Dwyer. In 1978, the Koelsch family concern merged with Larsen Bros. Funeral Homes, making it the eighth location of the Larsens. It currently serves as Church & Chapel Funeral Home.

Goal: Continue to develop existing and explore new opportunities for the community to develop a positive and memorable sense of place and time.

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Recommendation 1.3: Historical Commission to promote and implement additional historic walking tours and a parade of historic homes/neighborhood event.

▪▪ Objective 1: Encourage an interconnected community lifestyle. Nurture a healthy lifestyle by creating a living environment that provides for human needs and values, ranging from interpersonal social connections to human connections with the City’s history and natural environment.

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Recommendation 1.4: Promote the City and continue to utilize parks, open spaces, civic plazas and buildings for public events and happenings to engage all citizens.

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Recommendation 1.5: As part of the approval process incorporate social spaces, public art and interpretive areas into development plans.

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Recommendation 1.1: Continue to support and enhance the WAPD block watch and Neighborhood Partnership initiatives.

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Recommendation 1.2: Update the Citywide Site, Landscaping and Architectural Design Guidelines and consider developing a set of design guidelines for various neighborhood districts of significance to preserve character.

West Allis Farmers Market

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COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

History of West Allis The West Allis story began almost contemporaneously with the arrival (from the East) of pioneers intent on establishing homes in the Middle West. Wisconsin was still a territory, and the settlements were few and far between. Milwaukee was only a hamlet, and its surroundings were great forests in nature’s original beauty, inhabited by abundant game, disturbed only by the occasional visit of Native American tribes.

In 1827, Francois Drake Weld settled on a claim west of the present city. Then in 1835, three courageous men, Ebenezer Cornwall, Ruben Strong and Peter Marlett left New York State and ventured as far as Ohio. They were so pleased with the progress they had made and found the virgin country so alluring that they continued westward until they came to Chicago. Here they heard about a new town, “Milwaukie,” which was being laid out, so they continued northward. When they arrived, the beauty of the rural district west of “Milwaukie” caused them to feel they had found a paradise! The district was a densely wooded area containing many fresh water springs. Through this wooded area ran a rapidly flowing creek known as Honey Creek from which this settlement later took its name. They stayed long enough to decide their locations, place their landmarks and then returned to New York to get their families.

CITY OF WEST ALLIS

The first task of the early settlers who arrived from New York was to clear their lands of the many fine stands of walnut, oak and maple. The fertile soil, just freed from the forests, was lavishly fruitful, so the pioneer of Honey Creek soon learned to lay out his acres in truck farms. The produce raised found a ready market in the growing Milwaukee area. The pioneer arriving at Honey Creek found certain well-traveled Native American trails. These were soon to become muddy wagon roads. The Mukwonago Plank Road ran directly through the early settlement and crossed several other minor trails at what is now known as South 61st Street and West National Avenue. This section, where the various trails crossed east of Honey Creek, was known as “Old Five Points.” Anthony Douville came to Honey Creek and established a lumber business; soon after, Spencer Case built the first sawmill. Honey Creek became a settlement of a few houses, a blacksmith shop, sawmill, post office and a log chapel used by both Baptists and Episcopalians. There was also a log school, and a stage delivered mail.

In 1860, a square brick school was erected. Only seven pupils attended the first school session. On this spot at South 84th and West National Avenue now stands the 7-16

Garfield Building, which houses the West Allis Historical Society. The Chicago-Northwestern Railroad built the Madison division through this section in 1880 and called the station North Greenfield, after the township name of Greenfield. In 1887, sections of the village of Honey Creek were platted, and the vicinity became known as North Greenfield.

As early as 1853, the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society was organized for the purpose of holding an annual State Fair. This fair was held in different cities of the state, such as Janesville, Madison or Milwaukee. In 1891, the Society purchased the large dairy farm of a Mr. Stevens, complete with a mansion, several smaller homes, many outbuildings, and bounded on one side by the railroad. Thus, the State Fair settled permanently in North Greenfield. However, two years later, the entire estate burned to the ground, and new Fair buildings had to be erected. Now it was necessary to provide transportation for the people of Milwaukee to the State Fair grounds, so in 1894, the Milwaukee Street Car Company extended its lines all the way to the Fair grounds. With the establishment of these transportation facilities, the growth of North Greenfield was very rapid and its future assured. Therefore, it can be said that the location of

the State Fair grounds and the securing of the street car lines constituted the real foundation for its growth and development. This attracted the attention of the manufacturers who wrought the industrial changes.

The largest of these machinery producing companies, the Edward P. Allis Company, could not enlarge its plant on Clinton Street in Milwaukee, so decided to move to North Greenfield. This location afforded an outlet for both the Northwestern and Milwaukee railroads and streetcar lines which would bring an ample labor supply from Milwaukee. When the Allis Company moved on November 26, 1900, it employed 3000 persons and manufactured $6,000,000 worth of machinery per year. The Rosenthal Corn Huskers, the Kearney and Trecker Company, the Fred Prescott Company, and the Kempsmith Company followed soon after the establishment of the Allis Company. In 1902, the residents of North Greenfield voted to organize their village and call it West Allis. Fred Henderson was the first village president. In 1906, West Allis was chartered as a city with 2,400 acres of land and a population of 2,306. In 1905, a permanent water system was established for the city. In 1906, the Woman’s Club set up the first Public Library. A citywide garbage collection was initiated in 1907. Classes

for the teaching of English were set up in 1910. In 1912, there were 55 lineal miles of streets and 23 miles of water mains and sanitary sewers. In 1921, municipal street lights were installed; the first building code was adopted in 1923; and branch libraries were opened in 1924. In 1925, the first comprehensive zoning ordinance was passed. A full-time Health Department was provided for in an ordinance passed in 1925, and in 1926, the Office of Assessor was made a full-time job. 1927 saw the introduction of fire prevention, 1929 water storage tanks, 1939 adoption of the Civil Service System, 1945 the Health Center, and in 1947, radios for squad cars. 1949 saw the appointment of a full-time dental hygienist, installation of parking meters, and the Housing Project for Veterans which was later converted into Senior Citizen Housing. In 1954, a large annexation took place, doubling the total area of the City (Figure 7-6). This led to the development of much of the western portion of West Allis as we know it today. Among the improvements were a new West Allis Memorial Hospital completed in 1963 and Nathan Hale High School which opened in 1965.

Population Growth of West Allis Although there had been a Honey Creek, and later the North Greenfield settlement, the real growth didn’t occur until the industrial boom around 1900, precipitated by the industrial movement of the Edward P. Allis Co. from Milwaukee (Figure 7-5). This event also established the character of the City, marking it as an industrial city composed primarily of wage-earners who work in the factories of West Allis, West Milwaukee and Milwaukee. Although industrial forces have shaped the nature of the community, it is questionable whether these forces would have been given a chance to work had it not been for the location of the State Fair Park site and the consequent transportation improvements the accompanied its location. Figure 7-5.

Population Growth of West Allis Year 1902 1930 1950 1960 1970 1980 1986 1998 2001

Population 1,018 34,671 42,925 68,157 71,649 63,982 65,000 63,712 61,254

In summary, the impetus for the City of West Allis was the industrial complex created within the City after the transition from the 19th century into the 20th century. 7-17

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

HISTORIC ANNEXATION § ¦ ¨

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CITY OF WEST ALLIS

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Annexation Year 1900-1909 (1,895.12 acres) 1910-1919 (4.54 acres) 1920-1929 (510.36 acres) 1940-1949 (330.07 acres) 1950-1954 (4,561.45 acres)

Historic Annexation 7,301.55 acres

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Comprehensive Plan 2030

West Allis Farmers Market

Sites of Interest in West Allis

If you can’t pick it yourself, the West Allis Farmers Market is your best bet. More consumers are making an effort to buy food locally and support local farmers. The West Allis Farmers Market has been a local icon since the 1920’s. In 2008, the market underwent a complete architectural restoration to carry its legacy for generations to come.

Honey Creek Park and the West Allis Log Schoolhouse The West Allis Log Schoolhouse is a recreation of the first log schoolhouse built in 1843 near South 84th Street and National Avenue. It is located on the grounds of West Allis Historical Society, at 8405 W. National Ave. For more information and hours of operation, visit the City’s Web site Mitchell Manor The Mitchell Manor is the ancestral home to the late senator John L. Mitchell and childhood home to his son, the well known General Billy Mitchell, who is regarded as the “Father of the U.S. Air Force.” The Mitchell home is located in the Meadowmere Neighborhood at 5301 W. Lincoln Avenue.

with giant waterslides and interactive water toys – a golf course with majestic tree-lined fairways, a high-quality wooded natural area adjacent to three small ponds, and a large lagoon. The pond near the east entrance often harbors Canada Goose, Mallard Duck, Wood Duck, and Catbird. The ponds along the Oak Leaf Bike Trail are shrub-lined and are frequented by Catbird, Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, and Mallard Duck as well as dragonflies. McCarty County Park McCarty County Park is located at 8214 W. Cleveland Avenue. Park amenities include public swimming and recreational activities.

Greenfield County Park Greenfield County Park is located at 2028 S. 124th Street. Park amenities include a public golf course and newly renovated aquatic center. Approximately 295 acres, Greenfield Park boasts the Cool Waters family aquatic park – a beach-entry heated pool

A wide range of produce arrives at the market throughout the year. The early season brings bedding plants, radishes, asparagus, and rhubarb. Strawberries and raspberries arrive in June as well as zucchini, squash, peas, snap beans. Corn arrives about a week after July 4 along with many other squashes and herb plants. The late season brings fresh apples and cider. Chickens and fresh eggs are always available. For more information and local events held at the market please visit the City’s web site at http://www.ci.westallis.wi.us.

The park includes a swimming and wading pool, pavillion and a small pond for fishing and ice skating. The parks baseball diamonds are frequently utilized for adult softball and baseball league play. 7-19

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2030

Wisconsin State Fair Park

Wisconsin Exposition Center

The fairgrounds have been the location of the Wisconsin State Fair since 1892. It also hosts other venues such as the Milwaukee Mile, the oldest continuously operating motor speedway in the world, and the Pettit National Ice Center, a U.S. Olympic training facility which is owned by the State of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Exposition Center is an exhibit hall and exposition facility located on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair. It is owned and operated by State Fair Park Exposition Center Inc., a Wisconsin non-stock corporation organized and existing under Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Built in 2002 to replace the previous exhibit halls at State Fair Park, the Wisconsin Exposition Center is the state’s largest exhibit hall with over 200,000 square feet of space. Four large meeting rooms total about 3,000 square feet of exhibit space. The venue primarily hosts consumer shows, tradeshows, food functions and other public events.

Yearly features at the fair include a wide variety of vendors, many local and national bands, midway, a large assortment of food and drink, including cream puffs, which are one of the fair’s main draws. The Grandstand Main Stage features a different headline performance every evening of the fair. Many local bands can also be seen on smaller stages and pavilions located throughout the grounds. Agricultural exhibits of horses, cattle, sheep, chickens, and other animals are featured every year at the fair.

CITY OF WEST ALLIS

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The Expo Center also hosts exhibits and entertainment during the 11-day State Fair as well as several annual events, including The Wonderful World of Weddings, the Milwaukee Boat Show, RV and Camping Show, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show, The Journal Sentinel Golf Show, the NARI Home Improvement Show, the Wisconsin Realtors Home and Garden Show, Trainfest , and Holiday Folk Fair. In 2007, the Expo Center received a Travel Green Wisconsin certification, which is a recognition of tourism-related businesses that reduce their environmental impact through operations and other improvements.