News & Issues

Northpoint Magazine Covers HWTN-Area Utility Poles Issue

The August 2016 issue of Northpoint magazine includes a great summary of our June 1 board meeting with We Energies about the utility pole issue. The article is posted below.



We Energies Presents 
at Historic Water Tower Neighborhood June Monthly Meeting Historic Water Tower

Neighborhood’s Utility Expansion Committee invited We Energies to present its plans for the next phase of utility upgrades at HWTN’s monthly meeting.

The idea behind the meeting was to offer residents of historic districts the chance to learn more about the need for the planned upgrades, and how our historic districts and neighborhoods would be impacted.

David Effertz, Tiffany Tinsey and Thelma Sias at HWTN's June 1 meeting

David Effertz, Tiffany Tinsey and Thelma Sias at HWTN’s June 1 meeting

Residents of the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood, as well as concerned neighbors and citizens of other historic districts, filled the Marcia Coles room at the Lake Park Pavilion on June 1, 2016. David Effertz, We Energies Manager of Customer Service Engineering/ Design-Major Projects, gave a detailed presentation on the next phase of utility upgrades. He was accompanied by Thelma Sias, We Energies Vice President of Local Affairs.

Effertz presented a detailed explanation of the need for substantial utility upgrades affecting many of our historic streets. Among other reasons, residents learned that these upgrades are necessary due to the retirement of the Cambridge electrical substation and to the tremendous growth of the city. Many residents expressed deep concerns.

While supportive and excited about the city’s growth, members in attendance asked for We Energies to be mindful of the historic nature of their homes and neighborhood. They said they are looking for choices and greater communication.

Some shared concerns that power lines for busy streets like North and Prospect Avenues have been installed on parallel historic residential streets like Summit Avenue. Additional concerns were raised about the safety of above ground wires, the length of the new poles and forestry losses.

We Energies representatives answered the neighbors’ many questions as best they could and handed out their business cards welcoming additional questions. As in most monthly meetings, HWTN was fortunate to have the valued presence of their Alderman, Nik Kovac.

Tiffany Tinsey, Chair of the HWTN Utility Expansion Committee, said she was very encouraged by the line of communication established by WE Energies and the Water Tower district. She added that she hoped other utilities will follow. “Embracing growth while maintaining the integrity of our historic neighborhoods is a constant balancing act,” Tinsey said. “Today it’s utility poles, tomorrow‬‬‬‬‬ could be something else. Residents have a right to be informed and have a say in how these changes are implemented.”

Sally Peltz, President of HWTN said “This relatively new issue will remain on the agenda until our members believe that We Energies has given their historical neighborhood the care it’s required due to its celebrated character.”

The Historic Water Tower Neighborhood is hopeful that a direct line of communication with WE energies will continue to improve – realizing that as our city continues to grow, so should the lines of communication when our neighborhoods are impacted.

Historic Water Tower Neighborhood Mission Statements on Utility Expansions:
HWTN passed a resolution in February opposing “the use of commercial/industrial utility poles inside of our historic area” and calling on “the City of Milwaukee and We Energies to formalize a working partnership with HWTN in planning remediation of the existing damage” and “planning how to avoid further damage to this historic neighborhood as the We project moves further north through Historic Water Tower Neighborhood and the Downer Avenue area.” The Mission statement of the Utility Expansion Committee is to protect our historic district from continuing utility encroachment by seeking sustainable solutions for our city’s growing utility needs. Mission statement of HWTN “the preservation and enhancement of the unique residential character of the neighborhood.”

View We Energies’ June 1 Presentation on New Poles, Expansion Program

Top We Energies officials spoke and took questions at our June 1 meeting to address neighborhood concerns about new, larger utility poles being installed in the area.

Thelma Sias, Vice President-Local Affairs, and David Effertz, Manager-Customer Service Engineering/ Design-Major Projects, were invited to speak due to numerous concerns.

Here is a link to the presentation explaining We Energies’ construction activities in our area.

Poles

 

Repairs Begin on Historic North Point Water Tower, To Continue Through Summer or Fall

Repairs on the historic North Point Water Tower, an important city and neighborhood landmark, have just begun and will continue through summer or fall.

In a letter to Ald. Nik Kovac detailing the work to be done, Milwaukee Water Works Superintendent Carrie M. Lewis said the $245,760 project included removal and replacement of three stone finials, stone facade repairs, wood window restoration and replacement of existing floor plates.

IMG_6272

Repair work starting in May 2016 on the North Point Water Tower

 

Lewis wrote the tower would not be covered in scaffolding, but that “work may require a traffic lane for equipment and supplies.”

Lewis also noted that the Water Works appreciated “the historic significance of this structure and received a Certificate of Appropriateness from the City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission for the work. All required repairs will match the existing material and architecture of the building.”

A city inspection of the water tower in October 2013 revealed three of its four finials had structural issues that could present a hazard below, and they were temporarily removed.

The repair plans can be viewed here.

According to city historic designation study, the 175-foot tower, which was completed in 1874 and has since been an important Milwaukee and neighborhood landmark, “is significant for its role in early community efforts to improve public sanitation, as an example of nineteenth century technology and as a purely functional device of above average architectural quality. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, recorded for the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1969, named a Milwaukee landmark in 1968, and selected as a national landmark of the American Water Works Association in 1969.”

Historical newspaper articles from 1895 through 1973 about the tower can be viewed on HWTN’s website.

HWTN would like to thank the City of Milwaukee for taking care of this important historic building by funding its needed repairs and following the preservation ordinance to make sure the work is done correctly. Thanks to Mayor Tom Barrett; Ald. Nik Kovac; the Department of Public Works and Commissioner Ghassan Korban; the Milwaukee Water Works and Superintendent Carrie M. Lewis; and the Historic Preservation Commission and Carlen Hatala.

 

 

HWTN Co-Founder, Preservation Leader Barbara Elsner Honored by Historic Milwaukee Inc.

Barbara Elsner, one of Historic Water Tower Neighborhood’s founders and a national leader in historic preservation, was honored May 9, 2016, by Historic Milwaukee Inc. (HMI) with the group’s Spaces & Traces 2016 Preservation Award.

IMG_6220 (1) IMG_6226In honoring Barbara, HMI noted her board membership on many preservation groups; helping found HWTN and the Frank Lloyd Building Conservancy; and work that led to the City of Milwaukee’s preservation ordinance.

Bogk

 

 

Barbara and her husband Bob purchased and preserved Wright’s iconic Bogk House in 1954 on Milwaukee’s East Side. where they still reside.

Barbara was given the award at a ceremony held at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

Barbara006

 

 

HWTN Happy Hour at Pizza Man Helps Kick Off Spring

Historic Water Tower Neighborhood members enjoyed great appetizers and adult beverages at Pizza Man at our spring 2016 happy hour at the popular Downer Avenue restaurant on March 22, 2016.

Pizzaman copyPizza Man graciously provided delicious appetizers free of charge, while members tried wines from the restaurant’s renowned cellar, beers and other beverages.

Here’s a link to some of the photos from the party. Thanks again to Pizza Man for the great food, excellent service and being an important neighborhood anchor on Downer Avenue.