View from the Green

Bob is a retired education administrator who was an academic administrator for a local university for 28 years and spent almost 10 years as an administrator/manager at an educational association in Brookfield. He and his wife now run a small consulting business called DeRoche Consulting LLC.

Historic Hose Tower Building Renovation and Reuse

Hose Tower

Do you live in Greendale? Do you know where the Historic Hose Tower building is located? If not, you should because it has been restored to be used as a Cultural/Meeting Center. It is behind the Broad Street stores at the west end of the parking lot off the circle drive to the Middle School. It and the former Police Station are the two former municipal buildings in that area. Check it out, rent it, use it. The meeting space can be rented by anyone, not just Greendale residents. Its renovation and reuse is a tribute to the cooperation between the Village of Greendale and the Greendale Historical Society. The renovation to save this original historical building was done through funds provided by a fund-raising campaign by the Historical Society and funds provided by the Village of Greendale. The Village owns the building and will coordinate the rental of the meeting space. Call the Village Hall for rental information.

Proposed Arena


Recently I sent an email to my state Senator (she happens to be on the Joint Finance Committee), my state Representative, the leader of the State Senate, and the leader of the State Assembly. My message to them was simple: do not spend tax dollars (state, county, city of Milwaukee) on a new Bucks arena. I went on to say that they should leave the Bucks with three options: pay for a new arena themselves, continue to play in the Bradley Center, or, if they feel they have to, move out of town. I don't know about you, but I don't want my tax money spent on a private sports enterprise when we have children in urban and rural areas who can't read, streets/highways and bridges that need repair, people who need help and a multitude of other areas that need funding. Now we are learning other things about what might happen if this deal goes through. The owners would probably get about 80 million dollars for naming rights. Subtract that from their investment; that's a good deal for them. Do you think they would give money like that back to taxpayers? I doubt it. Secondly, we hear today that they will probably not include an ice surface in the plans. OK, maybe you don't like hockey so that's not a problem for you, but what about ice shows like the Holiday on Ice and Disney on Ice? They are not going to come to Milwaukee. We will also never get chance to host a national figure skating championship here. All I see in this is: the Bucks and their owners get richer and the rest of us get poorer. Is that what we want? I don't think so.

Electing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices

Supreme Court

In the spring elections Wisconsin voters went to the polls to elect state and local officials. One of the state choices was for a Wisconsin Supreme Court judge - one an incumbent and one a challenger. This brings up a question for me: Should Wisconsin appoint its Supreme Court judges rather than elect them? Twenty-four states use bipartisan commissions to help choose supreme court justices. I think it is demeaning to require a sitting state supreme court justice and the challenger, who is usually a lower court judge, to campaign. This means he/she has to raise money to create media advertising to get the public's attention. Many of the election advertisements are muckraking and not something you would expect of someone at this level. At election time these judges have to act like politicians which they are not. These people are professionals at the highest level who should not have to run campaigns. So I think Wisconsin should abandon electing Supreme Court judges and go to the bipartisan commission approach. The commission would submit a slate of candidates to the governor who in turn would choose from the list. This system is known as "merit selection" and also as the "Missouri Plan", in honor of Missouri which first adopted a commission system in 1940. Of course, the trick here is to make sure the commission is bipartisan. Let's get this on the next ballot so the people of Wisconsin can determine if this is a better way to select our Supreme Court Justices.

Random Thoughts: Streetcar, GNDL Visitors Center, NOW Print Copy, Ice Rink

Ramdom Thoughts

Light Rail - I wish the Milwaukee media would stop using the term "streetcar" in describing the proposed new transportation for the east side and downtown. "Streetcar" seems like an archaic term. What we are really talking about is an modern "light rail" system. Greendale Visitors Center - If you were visiting Greendale and had never been to Greendale, you might think the sign that says "Greendale Visitors Center" means that the Center is operated by the Village of Greendale to welcome visitors, highlight the history of the Village, and show them how to take walking tours, where to eat, and where to shop. However, that is not what the Center is all about. Greendale NOW - Those who subscribe to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel receive a supplement on Thursdays called NOW. The NOW section in our area covers the communities of Greendale, Franklin, Oak Creek and Hales Corners. There isn't much in these print versions when it comes to local news unless you like police reports, high school sports, and advertisements. The online version is better. Greendale Ice Rink - The other day I was talking to a Mother with her two children at the ice rink in the Village Center. She was telling me how much she liked/appreciated the ice rink. This is another example of what I have been talking about recently - doing something for the residents that draws them to the Village Center. In the future, perhaps children and adults using the rink can stop in at the Hose Tower building to warm-up and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

Diversity And The Greendale TIF District Proposal

TIF District

If you value diversity in residential housing in our community as I do, then the TIF District Proposal from the Village government should alarm you. Greendale managed to become a little more diverse in the last ten years. Comparing the 2000 census with the 2010 census we find that Greendale went from 96.18% white to 92.8% white. African American population increased from 0.28% to 1.2% and those identifying as Hispanic/Latino increased from 2.36% to 4.7%. Our total population as reported in the 2010 census was 14,046. Look up the definition of diversity. It is "the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: especially the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization". So what does this have to do with the TIF Proposal? Just as we are beginning to become a little more diverse as a community, the Proposal, with regard to residential housing, would take us backwards. I have read the Proposal on-line and in literature the Village government mailed to residents (I was not able to attend the information sessions). I hope most residents have read it. What the Proposal says is: "By offering TIF financing for the development of new, high-end market rate apartments, the Village will have the tools to attract developers ........." What it doesn't say is that there is no open land for these high-end apartments. If you look at the TIF map, these high-end apartments would be built on land currently occupied by the Crocus Court Apartments (behind the Post Office and the middle school). If we do this, are we saying to the people who currently reside in the Crocus Court Apartments: "We don't want you here anymore. We would prefer people who can afford high-end market rate apartments."? Is this what we want as a Village that welcomed moderate income urban families from Milwaukee when it was created by the federal government in 1938? I don't think so. The TIF District Proposal may be good in the other areas it covers, but the residential portion should be removed or revised. It is not in the best interest of Greendale as I interpret what we are about as a community.

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