The Kinnickinnic Avenue commercial district is front and center with Milwaukee’s newest public arts project.
Construction is scheduled to begin this month for the ArtStop transit shelter, a major public art sculpture located at the intersection of S. Kinnickinnic, S. Howell and E. Lincoln Avenues in Bay View.
Towering 32 feet tall, the ArtStop shelter will serve as a dramatic northern gateway to Bay View. The iconic sculpture will provide mood lighting for the area and be powered entirely by renewable energy, demonstrating the city’s commitment to developing eco-friendly public projects and the future economic benefits of renewable energy.
The ArtStop is the product of a unique partnership between the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and Business Improvement District #44. With its dramatic artistic design, the ArtStop shelter will strengthen the already distinctive and bustling business district, and be a significant aesthetic improvement over a somewhat dilapidated bus shelter that has been at the location for years.
A History of the ArtStop Transit Shelter
Construction has begun and new plans are released for the ArtStop transit shelter in Bay View, planners can look back with pride on the long process that has brought about the creation of this unique transit amenity.
Alderman Tony Zielinski believed that the triangle at the three-way intersection needed a functional public art bus shelter, to maximize the economic and aesthetic potential of the Kinnickinnic Avenue business district. He envisioned a major icon that would serve both Bay View residents and businesses and also attract the attention of visitors from Milwaukee, Southeastern Wisconsin, as well as Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana.
The first step toward realizing that goal was to secure a $5,000 donation from Paresh Patel, owner of Hub Market on Howell Avenue, just across the street from the triangle.
When retired Public Works employee David John Dombrowski passed away, he bequeathed his estate to the City of Milwaukee for projects that would improve the environment of Milwaukee. Alderman Zielinski introduced legislation to allocate $146,000 of that estate and apply it toward the ArtStop project.
The Alderman then reached out to Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic to secure a $50,000 commitment from the county.
Alderman Zielinski formed a committee to explore ideas that would enhance Milwaukee’s landscape and the committee identified a public arts concept to redesign an existing transit stop in the heart of Bay View and the Kinnickinnic Avenue commercial district.
A task force was created to solicit proposals for the project. The original members of the task force included:
- Jason Wedesky, president of the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID
- Kerry Yandell, an area property owner and a professor
at the UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning
- Laura Ashleigh, an artist and Bay View business owner
- Eric Ponto, an architectural designer and resident of Bay View
- Tom Mallman, an architectural designer and resident of Bay View
- Brian Dranzik, Milwaukee County Transit System
- Marina Dimitrijevic, Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman
- Michael Loughran, City of Milwaukee Public Works Manager
- Amy Heart from the Milwaukee Shines solar energy program.
Alderman Zielinski outlined two main goals of the task force. The first was that the end product must be monumental in scope, creating “a real wow factor.” Secondly, Alderman Zielinski intended that the ArtStop would provide ambient mood lighting with energy sources that are 100 percent “off of the grid,” demonstrating the city’s commitment to the future and renewable energy.
Thirteen artists from around the country responded to the task force’s Request for Proposals (RFP) and three finalists were selected to expand upon their proposals. The three finalists each received $1,000 to make a presentation to the public at a community meeting at Bay View High School. Attendees reviewed the artist’s models and chose the design of Roman Montoto, Professor of Architecture from the University of Idaho and a native of the Bay View area. His proposal received the most votes at the meeting, and the task force concurred.
Slideshow shows construction progress for the ArtStop transit shelter:
Through an open public bidding process, the firm Kotze Construction was selected as the contractor for the project. Funding continued to pour in as the Milwaukee Arts Board dedicated $15,000 to the project, and Milwaukee Shines budgeted $5,000. On Monday, March 17, 2014, Lee Barczak, the new President of the BID, signed the final contract, with groundbreaking scheduled for sometime in April and a project completion date no later than June 1, 2014.
The Dombrowski estate, the Milwaukee Arts Board, the Milwaukee County Arts Board, Milwaukee Shines, several Bay View business leaders, and the Bay View Kinnickinnic Business Improvement District 44 have provided funding for the project.
Art Stop Financial Summary
Total Outside Contributions (Grants and Private)
Direct KK BID Contribution
Preliminary Project Costs (Design Competition, Attorney Fees)
Direct Art Stop Project Costs (Design Work, Construction Prep, Construction)
Total Cost: $258,609.41
Original Budget (Design, Permitting and Construction): $210,000.00