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Greendale wants to hear ideas on lot's redevelopment

Feb. 14, 2012

Greendale - Public comments on the redevelopment of the Village Center's municipal parking lot area are being sought during an open house from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 22.

The meeting will be in the courtroom of the Greendale Safety Center, 5911 W. Grange Ave.

Graef Engineering, Milwaukee, has created four concept drawings for the area, said Village Manager Todd Michaels. The Greendale Historical Society has a fifth one for consideration.

All take into account the historical significance of some of the buildings, such as the Hose Tower, an art-deco structure built in 1939, said Ted Mainella, president of the society.

Additionally, the four plans by Graef call for the building of a courtyard, parks, multifamily housing and off-street and street parking, said Larry Witzling, a company principal.

"They do have the same elements," he said. "They all involve off-street and on-street parking. They all have some version of a courtyard."

The aim of the meeting is to identify what residents think is the best use of the area and "get a dialog going," Mainella said.

"I guess at this point none of the plans are being advocated by anyone in the village," he said. "What we're looking at is very preliminary work.

"The goal is we have a significant area in the village that needs attention and has a great deal of potential."

Witzling agreed that the Village Center's redevelopment would grow Greendale's tax base and help it retain its value as a "landmark community."

He added that multifamily housing would add customers to the downtown area, keeping it vital, and that's not a departure for the village.

"I think Greendale has always had multifamily around the Village Center," he said. "These are units that some might be for seniors, some might be for young professionals."

The catalyst for the redevelopment, Mainella said, was the society's work in restoring the historic Hose Tower, which he said could be "readapted" as a gathering place. "Greendale always had a community center, and lacks one now."

Just weeks ago, the society officially launched its fundraising campaign after announcing that it had raised $50,000 to make repairs to the building that was originally used to dry canvas fire hoses. The village pledged to match up to $50,000 last and this year.

Mainella said the society's goal is to raise $500,000 for the village-owned tower, which is hoped to be fully restored as a multiuse community center in 2013 when the village celebrates its 75th anniversary.

Proposals for the Village Center redevelopment are available at the Greendale Public Library, 5647 Broad St., and on the village's website, www.greendale.org.

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