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Master plan goal includes invigorating city's commercial corridors

Commuter rail could help define downtown

March 10, 2009

After more than a year in the works, Cudahy's 2020 comprehensive master plan is close to completion.

The plan will focus on Cudahy's vision of future and provide details about how to achieve that vision in the next 10 to 20 years, according to a draft of the city's master plan from Vandewalle & Associates.

"It's an opportunity for us to reach, to dream, to stretch," said Mark Roffers, principal planner for Vandewalle & Associates.

When formulating the plan, officials took into account the city's regional assets, proximity to transportation hubs and businesses to allow Cudahy to fully capitalize from future developments, Roffers said.

Boosting home ownership

Some of the goals of the city's master plan include investing in Cudahy neighborhoods, boosting home ownership; invigorating the city's commercial avenues with an attractive mix of uses and activities; promoting downtown Cudahy as the South Shore's transit-oriented activity hub; celebrating Cudahy's manufacturing strength and heritage; and capitalizing on the city's Lake Michigan access.

The plan also calls for connecting the city with bike routes.

"It's a challenge to get around the community if you don't have a car," Roffers said.

The strategy of boosting home ownership consists of improving housing, especially on the city's east side and enforcing building maintenance codes.

Decking out Packard

He said the plan calls for improving the appearance of Packard Avenue by the installation of oversized banners of industrial workers from the city's past to celebrate Cudahy's manufacturing heritage. Eventually, Packard Avenue should have more landscaping along the terrace and bump-outs for parking.

Vandewalle & Associates staff hope to bring in more housing and retail developments along Packard Avenue and retain existing stores, Roffers said.

The area around Cudahy Family Library will be the civic hub and historic area of the city, he said.

The presence of a future commuter rail will allow the downtown, which currently does not have a clear, defined boundary, to capitalize on the transit facility, providing unique opportunities for visitors and those using the rail, said Jolena Presti, associate planner for Vandewalle & Associates.

The Layton/Pennsylvania avenue gateway will likely be converted into the employment/retail hub of the city, Roffers said.

Consulting a plan

According to Wisconsin law, the city must have a master plan in place by the end of the year.

The Common Council will likely approve the plan sometime between May and July, Roffers said.

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

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