The Milwaukee County Parks Department announced late yesterday that the O'Donnell Park parking structure will re-open on Friday, July 1, echoing what Milwaukee Art Museum director Dan Keegan told me on Monday when I met with him.
That means the facility will remain closed during the first two days of Summerfest.
The structure has been closed since a piece of the old facade fell off killing a 15-year-old boy headed to Summerfest last year. The county released a statement yesterday saying that the renovated structure meets "all safety requirements."
New county exec Chris Abele scaled down the plan for the renovated facade, saving around $1 million. Workers are still painting the facade white this morning.
"I think they're doing a good job with it overall," Keegan told me. "It's going to look nice. Yeah, the white sort of stucco paint, I think it looks just fine. It's simple. It saves the county a million bucks. What's not to like about that?"
The garage, which serves Downtown workers, is also a key parking facility for Milwaukee Art Museum – to which it is connected by the Santiago Calatrava-designed pedestrian bridge – Discovery World, Betty Brinn Children's Museum and other area businesses and attractions.
For those interested in monthly parking ($120), contact the Downtown Unit Office for O'Donnell Park at (414) 277-0860 or the Parks Administration Office at (414) 257-PARK. Questions may also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment forms and details are available at countyparks.com.
There will be parking related promotions and a loyalty program, too, according to the parks department.
Keegan says he's been happy with the progress, though he had hoped the bridge would be open in time for the museum's annual Lakefront Festival of Arts event, which takes place June 17-19 this year.
"It's great, it's moving along. Of course, we'd like it to opener sooner," he said.
"Then, as you know," Keegan added, "there is a separate lakefront development committee that is working on a potential for a master plan of what really could be developed on the site that includes the garage area and the bus barn. I think there's as bigger conversation coming in terms of vision for lakefront and development."
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.