Leaders tout economic development

By DAVE FIDLIN - Special to The Post

Dec. 7, 2014

The Drexel Town Square project in Oak Creek will be anchored by a 193,000-square-foot Meijer store. The 85-acre development is located on the southwest corner of East Drexel Avenue and South Howell Avenue.
Daryl Skaradzinski/Post Staff


ST. FRANCIS — “Development” was the buzzword recently as leaders across
Milwaukee County’s South Shore suburban communities gathered to discuss
how their respective municipalities are gaining momentum economically.

County Supervisor Patricia Jursik, who represents most of the region,
hosted an economic development forum. The third such event, held in
conjunction with the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, was fittingly
hosted within the just-opened St. Francis Civic Center.

As the nation’s economy continues to rebound from the recession of more
than five years ago, local leaders sounded an optimistic tone as they
shared some of the newest announcements within Cudahy, Oak Creek, South
Milwaukee and St. Francis.

“Business goes where business is invited,” Dennis Carney, a board
member with the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, said. “I’m very
excited. There’s so much going on. This is a real grass-roots effort.”

The chambers of commerce of three of the four communities — Cudahy,
South Milwaukee and St. Francis — merged recently to form the South
Shore Chamber of Commerce. Carney said the goal behind the merged
organization is to provide a united front. But he stressed each of the
communities continue to maintain autonomy.

“I think competition makes everyone stronger,” he said.
The mayors and appointed staff members speaking at last week’s talk
shared some of the recent highlights in their respective communities,
while at the same time congratulating their neighbors.


Cudahy

“We have a story to tell in Cudahy,” Mayor John Hohenfeldt said,
pointing to the city’s long-standing history. One of the bedrocks of
the community, the Patrick Cudahy meatpacking plant, is undergoing an
expansion.
 

Cudahy features the Angelic Bakehouse, a baking and retail facility on a tract of land near
East Layton Avenue and Sweet Applewood Lane..

Daryl Skaradzinski/Post Staff

Hohenfeldt and Brian Biernat, director of economic development,
inspection and zoning, spoke of some of the other developments
sprouting up in the community, including residential, commercial and
industrial sites.

A tract of land near East Layton Avenue and Sweet Applewood Lane — once
the intended spot for the never-materialized Iceport development — has
sprung to life. Angelic Bakehouse is operating a baking facility and
small retail facility on the site.

Other highlights in the community include two residential projects: the
senior living Haven at Sweet Applewood development and Squire Avenue
Village Apartments.



Oak Creek

Unlike its three northerly neighbors, Oak Creek continues to be a
growing community with open land. However, the city does have
commonalities with its fellow landlocked South Shore suburban
communities with an assortment of redevelopment projects — the most
notable being the mixed-use Drexel Square site at the former Delphi
site.

City Planner Kari Papelbon said work on Drexel Square is progressing.
The retail roster, which includes a Meijer grocery store and Water
Street Brewery, continues to grow. Drexel Square also will host several
municipal facilities and 600 apartment units.

Elsewhere in the city, Papelbon said work is progressing on the Oak
View Business Park, which is being developed on 160 acres on the
southwest corner of Oakwood Road and Howell Avenue.


South Milwaukee

Throughout the city, Mayor Erik Brooks said South Milwaukee has
experienced several small- and mid-sized developments, including new
standalone Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King sites.

But Brooks said he is focusing heavily on one area of the city — the
downtown commercial corridor — to reinvigorate the local economy. He
pointed to such activities as a local farmers market and a public art
event as examples of how the city is attempting to do more in that
section of the city.

“I’ve put a lot of eggs in that basket,” Brooks said. “The story has
yet to be written, in a lot of ways. This is an area that is about
destination retail. The idea is to get more people downtown and
discover what we have to offer.”


St. Francis

As she discussed some of the newest initiatives taking place in St.
Francis, Mayor CoryAnn St. Marie-Carls rattled off several acronyms,
including the FBI and NBA. Both have a presence in the city — the
government agency having opened a satellite office and the latter
having recently renewed an arrangement to use the Milwaukee
Archdiocese’s Cousins Center for Milwaukee Bucks training.

St. Francis Brewery is a large restaurant and microbrew pub on Howard Avenue in St. Francis.
The business has plans to add a bottling facility.

Daryl Skaradzinski/Post Staff

In addition to celebrating their new public space that houses city hall
functions, the police and fire departments at the local historical
society, St. Marie-Carls said the city has been actively engaged in a
long-range comprehensive plan that focuses on such areas as the city
entrance along the airport.

“We’re proud of where we’re going, into the future,” St. Marie-Carls
said. “It gives us a roadmap for the future.”

St. Marie-Carls touted the growth of the St. Francis Brewery, a large
restaurant and microbrew pub along Howard Avenue that is planning on
adding a bottling facility. Also in the works is the KK Corners, a
development on a city-owned triangle-shaped piece of land on a highly
visible piece of land.