Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Common Council Approves Near South Side Area Plan

Development plan considered discriminatory towards new immigrants, low-income residents, and Latino businesses along the Historic Mitchell, W. National and W. Lincoln Ave. corridors

May 27, 2009

Milwaukee - On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Common Council on a vote of 14-0 adopted the Near South Side Comprehensive Area Plan resolution. The crafters of the plan include, the consulting firm of HNTB, Department of City Development (DCD) planners, the Contract Management Team, and funding partners. The planners have been criticized by South side residents for creating one of the most controversial development plans in Milwaukee’s history. “I strongly believe, crafters of the plan discriminated against Spanish speaking taxpayers. The mere fact, that no public announcements about the planning sessions and invitations were ever provided in Spanish when the planning initially began in 2007 proves a majority of the Spanish speaking community were left out of the process. In April 20, the City Plan Commission approved the plan even though complaints were made about the lack of information in Spanish concerning the plan. Historic Mitchell, W. National and W. Lincoln business districts were seen as mix commercial, and the plan failed to acknowledge the present Latino businesses or to enhance their growth along these corridors. Also, the planners wrote, ‘the area is home to many new immigrants some are legal and some are illegal.’ The statement should not have been included in the plan, and should have been removed,” H. Nelson Goodson, a South side resident said.
On May 19, the Zoning Committee headed by Alderman James Witkowiak who represents the 12th Aldermanic District where the predominately Hispanic community resides approved the plan unanimously.
The only positive change was to provide a four-page summary of the 200-page plan, which was later posted in Spanish on the DCD web site, according to Goodson. The planners have been reluctant to make any changes and have failed to amend the plan to include aldermen requests. Alderman Tony Zielinski wanted an indoor Soccer Complex included in the plan on S. 5th St. and W. Harrison St. and Ald. Michael Murphy wanted to promote Latino Arts Council in the plan. The plan passed ‘as is’ on Wednesday.

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