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Is there a rumor you've heard that you would like to track down? Is there something in the city — like playground equipment or a pothole — that needs to be fixed? Rick Romano answers some of the mysteries of life in Wauwatosa and helps solve everyday problems.

Why is there a partial brick alley between 102nd and 103rd streets?

Issue:Our reader, referring to the alley between those streets just south of North Avenue, asked, 'Why did they put brick in the middle and concrete to the outside?'

Status:The brick strip in the middle is a hard, permeable surface so that water, when pitched toward it from the concrete, can drain into the subsoil drainage system rather than into storm sewers.

'That is one of three alleys we did this past year,' said Public Works Director Bill Porter. It's part of a green program that we are following with MMSD funds.' MMSD is the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Those funds, he said, ensure that residents will pay no more than the cost of a conventional alley.

The city has been evaluating the program.

'We are pleased with what we have seen so far,' Porter said. 'Unless we see something erratically different, we will continue to put in the combination brick and concrete alleys.'

Porter said he is not aware of other communities currently adopting the green alley initiative, though he thinks some larger cities like Chicago are doing so.

Send questions to news@cninow.com.

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