A major development deal between Oak Creek and Wispark LLC has been approved and will help shape the future of the lakefront and old Delphi property.
As part of the agreement, Wispark will:
- Purchase and develop a business park at Oakwood Road and Howell Avenue. This was started in 2009.
- Purchase and develop a mixed-use "town center" project on the former Delphi land. Wispark will lead the effort to acquire the property for $6 million; the city will contribute $2 million towards it.
- Acquire an 80-acre parcel in the "Lakeview Village" area - the land near the lakefront east of Fifth Avenue. Once it acquires that parcel, Wispark will assume the role of project manager for the broader lakefront redevelopment plans.
"These are critical issues and they potentially set the tone for the community for the next 10-20 years," City Administrator Gerald Peterson said.
"I think the future of Oak Creek is pretty bright."
Also in the agreement, the city will try to re-purchase 50 acres near Oakwood and Howell that it sold to the Oak Creek-Franklin School District in 2009.
It was once thought this land could be home to a new school, possibly even a second high school. Instead, this will be incorporated into the aforementioned business park Wispark is planning.
The origins of the city's agreement with Wispark go back to the construction of the power plant on Elm Road.
When Wisconsin Energy built the plant, part of the deal was that it had to invest $20 million within 10 years to construct improvements on parcels in Oak Creek.
Wispark is a subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy. The deal spells out how Wispark will spend that money.
City officials have said they at the former Delphi land, 7929 S. Howell Ave.
Part of it could include a new City Hall and public library. The "mixed-use" term used in the agreement means the city and Wispark is looking for a combination of things there.
"It’s expected that there would be residential components, commercial components, and there could be civic components," Peterson said.
Oak Creek to help plan the future of that site and get public input.
A project team will soon begin to prepare site concepts for the area east of Fifth Avenue, which for years has been home to eyesores as the city has struggled to redevelop that land.
Two events designed to gather public input on what the lakefront should look like .
Wispark acquired this land in 2009 after a years-long legal battle between the city and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District.
However, as the economy went south, little progress has been made on developing a business park.