By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 29, 2020 at 11:55 AM

As part of its Tosa Restarts program, Wauwatosa has approved a plan that aims to speed up the process of considering applications for sidewalk sales for retail stores, expanded outdoor seating for restaurants and bars, and, "other creative business solutions," during this difficult economic time.

Via the program, the city promises to review and approve, as appropriate, applications for activities like:

  • Outdoor seating on sidewalk, public property or private property in a new or expanded way
  • Sidewalk sales for retail shops
  • Food trucks on public lands or areas not ordinarily used for parking a vehicle (note: food licensing and safety regulations continue to apply in full)
  • Temporary signage
  • Special events, parking lot uses, road closures, and block party fees waived, but charges for any extraordinary services
  • Liquor licenses for curbside delivery areas, expanded sidewalk cafes, special events and parking lot uses

"Expediting approval processes is one small way we can support our businesses as they reopen and follow social distancing and reduced capacity guidelines," said Paulette Enders, director of development for the City of Wauwatosa.

"We will continue to prioritize public safety, ADA compliance, and other safety measures as we allow creative use of spaces throughout Wauwatosa."

Earlier in May, Tosa Restarts launched with a financial assistance package for business owners.

According to a press release issued Friday by the city, the program’s goal is to "generate vibrancy within Wauwatosa’s commercial districts, as well as eliminate or reduce fees where allowed," as a means of battling the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Business owners can submit a request online and small business owners may apply for financial assistance via the Wauwatosa Revolving Loan Fund Corporation and the Community Development Authority.

So far more than 100 small businesses have received financial assistance.

"As in every community, businesses in Wauwatosa have suffered significant losses during the pandemic," said recently elected Mayor Dennis McBride.

"I’m proud that our city government is providing a boost to our businesses as they reopen, from expediting approval processes to providing financial support, while still emphasizing the need for compliance with health and safety guidelines."

The new rules will provide the kind of flexibility that these times demand, said, Wauwatosa Village BID Director Michelle Haider.

"During this difficult time for small businesses, it is important to give them the flexibility and ability to conduct commerce in a different way going forward, especially during the warmer months when sidewalk sales/use could make a positive impact on the business and Village area," she said.

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 an episode of TV's "Party of Five," 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.