Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just for the record...

...a little bit about me.
I live on the banks of the Milwaukee River, right smack dab between Lincoln Park and an I-43 on-ramp. My husband and I own the duplex we live in. When we first saw it eight years ago, we looked at each other in wonder and knew this was just the place we wanted to live. We love having the river in our backyard. We paddle regularly in the summer...the dog swims in the river too. We pay high property taxes to live here, because it is waterfront property. So, yes I do think we should have a say in what happens to the Estabrook Dam. If you want to travel here to fish, well, you could just as easily travel elsewhere to fish. My apartment was for rent, and you did not rent it, nor did you rent my neighbor's apartment, nor did you rent my other neighbor's apartment. There were recently two houses on our street for sale, and you did not buy either of them.
That said, on to the next logical environmental argument: the dam creates a lake within Milwaukee County, usable by kayakers, canoeists, and yes, small motorcraft. A city person (have I mentioned that there are 600,000 people in the city of Milwaukee alone? and two million in the metro area?) does not have to travel far to use any of the public boat launches. A person in Milwaukee does not have to drive to Pewaukee, Okauchee, or Nagawaukee lake to do this stuff: a short drive, saving fossil fuels and the cash to pay for them, and you're right at this nearby treasure. People fish all the time by the Blatz Pavilion. All the time! If you want to go to the free-flowing part, that's right below the dam at the dolomite falls, and all the way down to Lake Michigan.
As I have previously mentioned, this is a city...a great place full of "stuff we have built to accommodate people" (roads, buildings, etc); the infrastructure is here. I subscribe to the New Urbanist theory of limiting or halting suburban sprawl. I remember seeing, when I was a kid, farms within the county. Not just Growing Power, but real farms, right on Mill Road. Now they are houses, and it's houses and stores pretty much all the way to Madison. That's why we need to limit sprawl from taking up all our green space for NEW infrastructure, so people can live even FARTHER from the center of the action and drive even MORE.
To recap my argument: save in town...kayak in the city. Leave the Estabrook Dam in place.


mikemiller34 said...

For all the pro-urbanist statements on my blog, I'm not sure I could ever buy property in Milwaukee County--especially if I were buying a house vs. a condo, and especially if I had kids. I've just lost all faith in the place.

Erik Helm said...

River Otter,
We are both nature people, but see things differently.
Your blog is the first non-hysterical writing I have seen on the pro-dam side. Thank you for a civil discussion.

The River Otter said...

Thanks, Eric! I really appreciate your comments and discussion.
Mike, how sad. I really believe in Milwaukee. Lost all faith in the place? Really? If the city had a mayor with a real vision, a plan for light rail, and more city/suburban cooperation, would you think differently?...or is that asking too much?