News on the Drexel Town Square project continues to pour out as developers and city officials move forward on the development at Drexel and Howell avenues.
Among the items of note from Monday's Oak Creek Common Council meeting was that senior housing has a "real strong possibility" of being included on the site, according to City Administrator Gerald Peterson.
The housing could go south of the city hall and library (near Woodman's) on what the site plan currently shows as an open area.
"There's a fairly significant green space that could potentially be either expanded parking, if it's needed; storm water (retention) areas; or possibly some additional building," he said. "We think that this site, both on our property and potentially on the Wispark property, has the potential for some kind of senior housing."
The city hall and library are planned for the south side of the town square. To the north of the town square will be Oak Creek's new downtown, featuring first-floor shops and second-floor apartments.
Other news from Monday's meeting:
Freeway signs. The city and state Department of Transportation are working out an agreement for "Downtown Oak Creek Exit 321" signs to be erected near the Drexel Interchange. The signs, one for northbound I-94 drivers and one on southbound I-94, would cost $6,000 each.
Concrete removal. The concrete that now covers the site will be removed starting in March, Peterson said. City officials have pushed back the date several times but say bids have been received and contracts are on track to be approved the first week of March.
It will take about 90 days for crews to take out all the concrete, which will be re-used within Drexel Town Square, Peterson said.
Drexel Town Square access. Peterson confirmed drivers will be able to access the site through Forest Hill Avenue, south of Drexel Town Square. A traffic study will be done for Forest Hill to assess the impact on that street and what adjustments need to be made.
The main entrance to the site will be off Drexel Avenue. Stoplights at 6th and Drexel seem assured, Peterson said.
City hall and library. Architects unveiled an preliminary exterior design and floor plans for the city hall and library.
The civic components would be combined into a two-story building, with city hall on the east, the library on the west and a shared lobby space in the middle. Off the lobby would be a council chambers that doubles as a theater for the library, and several meeting rooms shared between the library and city hall and available for public use.
The lobby, which will be open after normal work hours, will include kiosks and an ATM machine.
"What we want to do is give the public a variety of ways they can interface with us," Peterson said.
"One of our major themes overall is, how do we make life better and easier for both the public and our employees? How do we save trips?"
Plans for the second floor include an outdoor terrace for the library.
A rendering shows a very glassy exterior and a roughly 50-foot high tower feature that would make the building visible from Howell and Drexel avenues.
Officials cautioned the plans are preliminary and will continue to get refined in the coming weeks. Construction on the building is scheduled to begin in the summer.
Those involved with the project said they were buoyed by the turnout and excitement shown at a Feb. 11 public meeting. Doug Seymour, the city's director of community development, said the city "emerged with a stronger project" after the meeting and feels the development "turned a corner."
"It's an exciting time to be in Oak Creek," he said.