MUSG finalizes plans for Wells Street median

  • Representatives from both the city and the university presented finalized plans for the construction of the Wells Street median to the MUSG Senate last Thursday.
  • Alderman Bob Bauman said Marquette is currently negotiating to lease Norris Park, located on Kilbourn Avenue between 18th and 19th street., from the city.
  • The Senate also passed a constitutional amendment barring graduating seniors from seeking senator or officer positions in MUSG.

City officials presented finalized plans for the Wells Street median project at the April 2 Marquette Student Government Senate meeting.

Senators viewed a sketch of what the median is anticipated to look like. Construction is expected to begin by April 20, said Ghassan Korban, the project manager from the Milwaukee Department of Public Works. The physical median is projected to be completed by around May 14, and landscaping will be completed about two weeks after that.

Korban said bids ended up coming in much lower than the city had anticipated, largely because contractors are "hungry for bids" in the current economy.

The project was originally estimated to cost $170,000, but in actuality will only cost about $152,000, Korban said in an interview.

Marquette's $75,000 share remains unchanged because the portions Marquette will be paying for were bid at an amount similar to what was expected, he said.

The median will contain different kinds of narrow, tall trees and various shrubs and flowers, said city forestry landscape designer Scott Baran.

Baran said he tried to create a blue and gold theme with the plants to reflect the university's colors.

Alderman Bob Bauman discussed how the city became involved in the project after former MUSG President Brock Banks and current Senate Parliamentarian Jimmy Schott initiated plans.

"It took government affairs a little time to catch up to the students," Bauman said.

Bauman also said the university is still negotiating with the city to secure lease ownership of Norris Park, located on Kilbourn Avenue between 18th and 19th streets, for 25 years.

If the lease is approved, the university would begin landscaping efforts this growing season in hopes of making the park usable by spring 2010, said university architect Tom Ganey.

Marquette has indicated it would be willing to make an investment in the park if it were allowed to have control over the property, Bauman said.

The community would still be able to use the park, which has fallen largely into disuse. Marquette would have primary control over its use, he said.

Bauman said some members of the Common Council may be uneasy about turning public lands over to a private university, but he said Marquette could take better care of the park based on the care it gives its own land.

"I'd like to see Norris Park brought up to the same standards," he said.

In other MUSG News…

 The Senate passed a constitutional amendment that bars graduating seniors from running for Senate or officer positions in spring MUSG elections.

The amendment comes after graduating senior Abe Matthew was elected a senator for the College of Arts & Sciences as a write-in candidate. In addition to last Thursday's meeting, Matthew will only be able to attend three more meetings before graduating.

Matthew argued that the decision to elect seniors ought to be left up to student voters. But Senator Billy Doerrer, who sponsored the legislation, said students would end up with fewer choices if graduating seniors are elected since their vacancies are filled by respective college student councils.

"It impairs the ability of the Senate to move forward," said Doerrer, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The amendment passed 23-6.

 The Senate appointed Senator Adam Tandez the new legislative vice president, replacing graduating senior Jason Rae from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Tandez was previously the nursing senator for MUSG.

Former Senator John Kristan and current Senator Shazia Ali, both juniors in the College of Arts & Sciences, also ran for the position. Kristan and Ali formerly ran on the same ticket for MUSG president and executive vice president, respectively.