The former Prospect
Hill School in New Berlin could be redeveloped if plans
BERLIN — The City Hall Council Chambers were nearly full
Tuesday evening as roughly 75 residents crammed inside
to hear about a proposal to raze Prospect Hill
Elementary School and build self-storage and business
condominiums in its place.
majority of residents who spoke at the meeting — invited
because their homes are near the vacant property — were
strongly against an industrial development, said Mayor
Dave Ament on Wednesday.
think the biggest thing was that they were concerned
this could create a business park,” Ament said. “They
didn’t like the density, there were too many units, and
they were uncomfortable that the questions and answers
were vague at this point about where the entrance would
Ament stressed at Tuesday’s hour-and-a-half-long meeting
that the idea and renderings were strictly conceptual
and the developer — Mike Frede, who owns VentureSpace
LLC — would still have to go through a formal
application process before anything is finalized.
wanted to make sure the neighbors knew this guy was
serious,” Ament said.
Tuesday was the second time Frede was invited to talk to
residents about his vision for the abandoned parcel
sandwiched between Racine Avenue and National Avenue.
Frede said the second meeting wasn’t much different from
the first, which was about a year ago. He had heard from
city officials that residents were concerned about the
development proposed for the parcel, which he bought
just over a month ago.
Still, despite an outspoken crowd bemoaning the proposed
changes at the meetings, Frede said several residents
called or emailed him Wednesday to voice their support
for the development.
next step is to get feedback from the city based on what
was gleaned from Tuesday’s meeting, he said.
“Whether, at this point, are they supportive of us
continuing the process or are they against it,” Frede
said of city officials. “If they are against it, it
won’t go any further. If they are supportive, we will
look to adjusting the concept and have another public
Frede said he plans to sell the property if New Berlin
officials are against his concept.
asked how the city stands, Ament said they are “neutral”
because there isn’t an official proposal yet.
don’t know how many units they’re talking, we don’t know
about the entrances, we don’t know about traffic
impact,” he said. “We do know that the vast majority of
the people at the meeting (Tuesday) and the one about a
year ago do not like the idea for a lot of reasons and
they are the ones that would have to live with it.”