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Mequon council eyes park as gateway to city

Ideas include limestone-paved plaza and overhead arch

A sketch of the envisioned Mequon-Thiensville gateway at the northeast corner of Mequon and Cedarburg roads.

A sketch of the envisioned Mequon-Thiensville gateway at the northeast corner of Mequon and Cedarburg roads.

Aug. 14, 2013

Mequon — City-owned land at the northeast corner of Mequon and Cedarburg roads could become the visual gateway to Mequon and Thiensville.

The Common Council, meeting as a Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, toured the scenic park space and got a glimpse of designs which would reshape the area into a scenic walkway, informal amphitheater, and stormwater retention area.

"The idea is to visually and physically bring people into the park," said Mequon architect Kerry Mattingly, gesturing to a rendering which shows a limestone-paved plaza at the corner of Mequon and Cedarburg roads, complete with wrought iron lampposts, fencing and a "Mequon Thiensville" overhead arch leading into the park space beyond.

"I thought a lot about the opportunity here," said Mattingly, who donated his design services as a way to give back to the city. "It's a beautiful park and, together with the development across the street, is a gateway."

On the slope beyond the plaza — which is where the standing community events sign is now — Mattingly and city planners envision a sort of informal amphitheater for community events. A new, programmable electronic sign donated by the Mequon-Thiensville Junior Women's Club will replace the current event sign.

Developer Blair Williams, who is heading the upcoming mixed-used Town Center nearby, is looking to bring rainwater runoff below Cedarburg Road into a stormwater retention area on a slope at the northern edge of the park space. His plan, he told aldermen, is to landscape the slope and add plants to slow stormwater on its way to the Milwaukee River.

Williams said the retention area would be an eco-friendly site, an amenity for residents to explore and lounge in, and a potential learning opportunity for area students. Williams said he plans to put in an educational plaque about eco-friendly practices and stormwater management.

Alderman Ken Zganjar, as he did during the council's later deliberation on the subject, mentioned the possibility of developing the space instead of installing the stormwater retention area in conjunction with Williams.

The council on Tuesday approved the donated electronic sign from the Junior Women's Club, to be installed by November. The plaza project and stormwater retention area will be considered by the council at future meetings.

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