By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 08, 2017 at 4:45 PM

In an effort to boost employment opportunities, save old growth wood and other building materials used in old Milwaukee homes slated for demolition and keep materials out of landfills, as well as trim landfill tipping fees paid by taxpayers, Ald. Robert Bauman introduced legislation that would require deconstruction, rather than demolition, of certain old structures.

The Common Council approved the new deconstruction ordinance – which was co-sponsored by Alds. Nik Kovac and Khalif Rainey – Tuesday, and the rule that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, requires deconstruction rather than demolition of most one- to four-family buildings built before 1930 that are scheduled to be razed.

Bauman, a member of the Common Council's Historic Preservation Commission, said in a statement that deconstruction will also cut carbon emissions, as prevent the release into the atmosphere of "asbestos, dust and other hazardous substances caused by mechanical demolition."

New Land Enterprises is currently deconstructing rather than demolishing the former Renaissance Books building (above) at 834 N. Plankinton Ave.

One of the highest profile deconstructions of late was the 2014 dismantling of the former Northwestern Mutual building pulled down to make room for the recently completed new tower.

WasteCap and Habitat's ReStore have been working to salvage and reuse vintage building materials in Milwaukee for a number of years. Proceeds from ReStore's sale of these materials help fund Habitat for Humanity's home building projects in the city.

"The demolition of Milwaukee’s older housing stock does more harm than good," Bauman said. "Deconstruction will help save rapidly disappearing old-growth building materials while also benefiting our environment and creating new jobs." 

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.