City of Milwaukee officials and representatives of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative are working to secure locations for Clarke Square gateway markers after the city denied permits at three of the five original sites. Of the original locations, only one is still being proposed on city property.
The markers, created to “demonstrate pride in the neighborhood’s diverse cultures and attractions,” according to the community’s Quality of Life Plan, originally were to be placed at the four corners and center of Clarke Square.
The dark brown decorative markers made of corten steel were completed in July, and remain in a warehouse. “We’re going back and forth with the city,” said Jeffrey Hojnacki, co-owner of Ascend Design of Milwaukee. Ascend Design, along with C R Industries of Cudahy, fabricated the markers.
According to Dawn Schmidt, civil engineer for the city of Milwaukee, the permits to place the markers were denied because they didn’t meet certain standards and requirements.
“You have three things that have to work together; you can’t block the view of oncoming traffic, there must be 5 feet of clearance on the sidewalk and you can’t interfere with underground utilities,” Schmidt said.
In the case of all the disputed locations, one or more of the criteria could not be met, according to Schmidt.
“It would be easier if they could tell us where a suitable location existed, but we’re told they (the city) cannot do that; we had to scout out locations, draw up renderings and submit them to the city and then find out if they meet the criteria or not,” said Manni Marquez, neighborhood director for the Clarke Square Initiative.
The Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative has turned to some local business owners for help. Two have agreed to place markers on their private property, where they would not be subject to the same city of Milwaukee requirements, according to Marquez.
One marker will be placed at Longfellow School, which is the property of Milwaukee Public Schools and another, pending approval, would be located on county property at Mitchell Park.
No date has been set to install the markers.