By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 02, 2018 at 9:01 AM

Last week, Menomonee Valley Partners, the City of Milwaukee and UWM's School of Architecture and Urban Planning's Community Design Solutions unveiled the results of a charette that considered potential uses for more than 40 acres of land in the Valley.

Six area architectural firms each considered a site and drew on research and focus groups to hatch innovative concepts for the underutilized sites, including some right on the edge of Downtown, as part of the Menomonee Valley 2.0 Plan.

You can read more in-depth discussions of the six sites here.

But we decided to go take a look for ourselves, along with Corey Zetts, who is executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners, at a trio of (semi-)adjacent sites near the east end of the Valley.

Those sites are:

  • The so-called Kneeland Properties (pictured above, courtesy of HGA) – almost 10 acres, and examined by HGA – and directly across the Menomonee River
  • The St. Mary’s Cement land (on which Engberg Anderson focused, pictured at the top) directly across 6th Street from the Harley Museum
  • And a 22-acre parcel (pictured below, courtesy of Korb and Associates) that wraps around the east, south and west sides of We Energies’ Valley Power Plant. Korb and Associates looked at that piece, which doesn’t front the river, but rather the Burnham Canal to the south.

How the sites look now:


Kneeland Property.


St. Mary's Cement.


We Energies, viewed from Kneeland.

We asked Zetts to explain the charette ...

... to tell us a bit about the three parcels, centered on the Kneeland Property, which sits beneath the Marquette Interchange and near the Downtown post office ...

... and about the next steps of turning these compelling visions into reality in the Menomonee Valley ...

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