SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING
AND WE'RE GETTING CLOSER TO NOTHING
Remember all the things people wanted to do with the old Coast Guard Boat House near McKinley Marina?
It's borderline criminal, some of the beautiful old buildings hit by the wrecking ball in our fair city. The old Chicago and Northwestern Rail Depot comes to mind as an appropriate poster child. I get why we have an Historic Preservation Commission.
Still, it seems we ought to learn from the mistakes of our recent past. Not long ago a cool looking old boat house once used by the Coast Guard sat vacant on our lakefront. There were all kinds of plans... and more plans... and more plans... and we wanted to be really, really, really sure that whatever we did worked for everyone, everywhere in every time.
We eventually did nothing. The building rotted out, and we had to tear it down. Nice going.
I thought of that story as the HPC is giving its best effort to regulate a proposal for a Downtown Marriott out of existence. Changed and changed again, developers have told the commission that it's latest request for changes to the design are not workable.
It's a recession. We're dealing with vacant or barely used properties in a part of downtown badly in need of some investment. We've got a developer who has addressed, through design changes, many of the concerns of preservationists. The developers want to put $50 Million into downtown Milwaukee if we let them.
Hello there, gift horse. Is that your mouth? Let me look closely at it.
I'm not on the HPC, and don't claim to know all the ins and outs. I'm just hopeful we don't turn away a quality suitor.. hoping for our Prince Charming... only to have Prince Charming never arrive.
We've made that mistake before.