Judging from the Common Council meeting last Tuesday, the butterfly effect extends to Wauwatosa. Butterflies have a powerful hold on the popular conscience. Alderman Dennis McBride stated the obvious: No one opposes the butterflies.
Unfortunately, McBride next expressed concern for development, which can provide needed jobs, using his daughter as an example of a job-seeker. What he did not say was just as obvious: No one opposes job creation. The concern is for the uniqueness of this special location.
Wauwatosa doesn't lack locations for economic development. One example, the long vacant Burleigh triangle comes immediately to mind. Redevelop that eyesore, and we can create new jobs. But McBride hit another nail on the head when he admitted that the County Grounds are "the most valuable land in the county" that developers are "salivating" over.
The city of Wauwatosa is not bound by the decisions of the County Board (who passed this ball to Wauwatosa by selling 89 acres to the UWM Foundation - a development entity, not a department of the university.) The Common Council has sole authority to zone this land. The right thing to do will also benefit and distinguish Wauwatosa most: preserve the most valuable land in the county, not for a few office workers but for the public to enjoy.
Through carefully restrictive zoning, working with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wauwatosa can be a leader in sustainable development with minimal impact on the natural environment. With a large, intact park it can also establish itself as a destination for people to enjoy views of nature unparalleled in Milwaukee County.
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