Controversial Postal Center Approved
OAK CREEK - After hearing from upset neighbors in a crowded council chamber, Oak Creek aldermen voted Tuesday to build what may be the state’s largest postal facility.
Residents pleaded with the Common Council to reject the development.
“The message we should be sending them is to 'return to sender,'” a resident said during the public comment session.
The U.S. Postal Service wants to relocate their regional hub, moving the processing and distribution center from downtown Milwaukee to a farm field at Pennsylvania Avenue and College Avenue. Oak Creek will generate no property taxes because it is a federal government, tax-exempt operation.
“I am very, very upset,” a critic told the council.
At 759,000 square feet, the proposed postal center would be seven times the size of a Woodman’s grocery store. Opponents contend an industrial complex of that size would overwhelm their peaceful neighborhood.
“It doesn’t benefit the city of Oak Creek at all,” resident Anthony Sobczak told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.
State Representative Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) disagrees. He urged approval because of 2,200 jobs USPS promised to relocate to the area.
“They will buy the houses,” said Honadel. “They will spend the cash here.”
USPS also committed to pay to widen surrounding roads. Going against most who attended Tuesday’s meeting, the council passed the development 5-to-1. Ald. Dimity Grabowski cast the only dissenting vote.
Mayor Dick Bolender told TODAY’S TMJ4 no amount of public outcry would have swayed his support for the project.
“We slowed everything to the same pace of everything else and we did not push,” Bolender said.
It’s not clear when construction will begin. Developer Cobalt Partners, LLC predicted the facility may be up and running as soon as 2011. Principal Scott Yauck said the center would not process mail until surrounding road upgrades are complete.