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City officials excited for the new year

Dec. 30, 2013

Wauwatosa's resolution for the New Year will be the same as it was in 2013: Drive economic development.

"We ended the year strong," City Administrator Jim Archambo said. "We had lots of development — everything from the Innovation Campus to the Mayfair mall to the Village — and we look forward to making 2014 an even better year."

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Innovation Campus development, located in the city's northeast quadrant, will see new facilities in 2014, County Supervisor Jim "Luigi" Schmitt said. The university's engineering department is slated for the Innovation Campus as well as an extended-stay hotel.

"There's a lot going on," he said. "It's been an amazing journey."

Construction related to the Zoo Interchange project will continue into 2014. Although traffic is expected to remain heavy, "you will see the widening of Watertown Plank Road in 2014," Schmitt said.

Watertown Plank Road will be closed under Highway 45 on Jan. 6 for construction. Multiple entrance and exit ramps will be closed until late 2014, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

"It's going to be big-time construction," said William Porter, director of Public Works. "The Watertown Plank construction, run by the DOT, is a major project that will affect Wauwatosa in 2014."

The construction will lead to "some prime economic development," Schmitt said.

Schmitt also said he looks forward to reconstruction of Menomonee River Parkway stretching between 2014 and 2015. A six-mile portion of the parkway "that has been badly needed to be redone" will be repaved, he said.

New retail, residential prospects

Keeping current residents happy is just as important as economic development, Mayor Kathy Ehley said.

"As mayor, I'm always balancing the need for economic development and keeping the community engaged," she said. "We want to be very smart about the growth and development of our city."

New community assets, such as the Mayfair Collection retail complex at 11500 W. Burleigh St., will help promote Wauwatosa's strong neighborhoods, she said.

The Mayfair Collection, which will open in April, will be home to Dick's Sporting Goods, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack and other businesses. An additional Nordstrom store in Mayfair mall is expected to open in 2015.

The city also looking at opportunities for new apartment complexes, Ehley said.

"When you have strong economic development like this, there's a lot of planning that goes into moving people around," she said. "We're having a lot of developers and investors coming to us who are interested in residential development of apartment complexes ... but we also want developers who want to connect with the community."

Alderman Jeffrey Roznowski also feels the city has a lot in store for the new year.

"To me, the projects in 2014 will continue to make Wauwatosa a destination for people to work, to shop, and, ultimately, to live," Roznowski said.

Growing interest in the area has led the common council to consider making a marketing plan for the city, he said.

"It's almost like we're being re-discovered,...and I think we need to strengthen our brand, our logo, our image," he said. "It's a good time to be living in Wauwatosa."

Library resolutions

The Wauwatosa Public Library will head into 2014 with a slightly different look by changing the interface of its self-checkout stations.

"The screens will look very different from before," Library Director Mary Murphy said. "I think people will really like them."

The library also plans to promote its new youth program, "1,001 Books Before Kindergarten" in 2014. The program, which began in September, was designed for parents to introduce a variety of books to their children at an early age.

"It's almost like walking the children and parents through an English Literature course before kindergarten," said Children's Programming Librarian Anne Kissinger. The library provides a list of recommended picture books with the goal of exposing children to different titles and concepts. Parents fill out logs for every 50 books read aloud. Children who reach 1,001 before kindergarten will be acknowledged through placards placed inside their last library book.

More than 65 children have completed their first log of 50 books, Kissinger said.

"This program is really about to take off," she said.

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