Around the Town with Mayor Steve: A Downtown of the Future

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City Updates | Mayor & Council |

As we move closer to the groundbreaking for the new City Hall and Library component of the Drexel Town Square development this Spring it’s also important to highlight the restoration of a natural wetlands on the west side of the property. Previously the site of a railroad spur for the AC Delco Corporation, the area is being restored to its natural state as part of the overall site plan for Drexel Town Square.

This natural area is part of an environmentally-conscious water management system designed to reduce runoff and naturally filter storm water on the site, reducing the impact to our environment. The wetland area encompasses seventeen acres in total, with 8 devoted to wetland including wooded wetland, shallow marsh, deep water marsh, and 2.9 acres of open water. The remaining 9 acres will be classified as an upland natural area including deciduous hardwood forest, tall prairie and short prairie mixed with native shrubs.

An asphalt-paved path will allow public access to the wetlands area, giving residents the opportunity to walk through and around the site, which will also include highlighted destination points, honoring our city’s history and some of our achievements. As part of our city’s Fitness Challenge initiative, it is hoped that residents will use these areas as walking and running paths, linking them to our new downtown.

Much of the cost of the project has been mediated by grants that the City of Oak Creek has received, significantly reducing the impact on the infrastructure costs for the Drexel Town Square development. In  addition to the wetland restoration Oak Creek has received a significant grant from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District (MMSD) for pervious pavers in the parking areas of the streets of Drexel Town Square, including Main Street, Market Street, Town Square Way, W. Clock Tower Place, and portions of 6th Street. These pavers allow water to slowly permeate the surface, helping to filter out pollutants as the water moves through the gravel underneath.  The pavers also reduce icing issues during the transitional seasons, because as the snow melts, the water drains away down through the pavers rather than collecting in puddles that refreeze overnight and require salting the next day.

Work on the wetlands and paver projects will be ongoing in 2014, with the work expected to be completed in 2015. It’s an exciting opportunity to link the environmental stewardship to new development, and will be another reason why Drexel Town Square will be a downtown of the future.

Mayor Steve