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Panel recommends firm to conduct North Avenue study

Feb. 10, 2010

A Wauwatosa committee has selected an Omaha-based firm to conduct a study that would guide future redevelopment on North Avenue in the East Town district.

Twenty-four consulting firms from around the country bid on the project that will look at streetscaping, urban design and economic vitality, among other factors, of the commercial district bounded by 60th and 76th streets.

A committee made up of the city's Public Works and Community Development directors, 1st District Alderwoman Linda Nikcevich, a member of the North Avenue Alliance and a representative of the Wauwatosa business community looked through all the bid packages, interviewed top candidates and made a recommendation to the Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday.

The top choice was RDG Planning and Design, which submitted a bid $66 short of the budgeted $40,000 for the services. The company specializes in development plans for business corridors and special districts. Representatives from RDG have already visited Wauwatosa, although that was not a bid requirement. They walked the district, stopped in some of the businesses and got a feel for the neighborhood.

The finance committee recommended selecting this consulting firm and the decision will go on to the Common Council next week.

Money for the planning study will come from Community Development Block Grant funds. According to grant rules, a portion of the funds may be used to cover expenses related to planning activities. The council already had approved allocating the money for this purpose in 2010.

The North Avenue Alliance, a group of residents, business and property owners, will be closely involved in the planning process. Opportunities for public input such as open houses and online surveys are expected.

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