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'Land fill' paves way for new lakefront road in Oak Creek

Project may also aid development in parts

July 22, 2014

Oak Creek — To the city's benefit, a local developer will be filling land on South Chicago Road and Highway 100.

The Oak Creek Common Council this week approved a project that will not only save the city thousands of dollars, but will also serve as a foundation for a new lakefront access road that the city is planning to construct in 2015 and 2016.

John O'Malley of O'Malley Investments was granted the landfill permits Monday, July 21, during a special council meeting.

O'Malley said he wants to fill the land because he wanted to keep his property elevation even when the city puts a new road through it. The road would create a new intersection with South Fifth Avenue and East Ryan Road and Highway 100 and South Chicago Road.

"We've been working with the city on this thing for four years and it's just now culminated," said O'Malley, noting the city initially approached him.

O'Malley has been an Oak Creek land owner for 20 years and works in commercial real estate. The property receiving land-fill applications is about 19.5 acres of land, but the actual amount of land being filled is less than half of that amount, said Mike Simmons, city engineer.

Area residents came in support of the prospect, but nonetheless expressed some concerns about stormwater management.

"I still have a wait-and-see attitude," said Fran White, who with her husband Tom owns farmland that will be affected by the land-filling.

"Our tracts are elevated, so there's this big dam to the east of us. If you raise the west, you have the potential for making it a swimming pool," Tom White said.

"It's a little wet there now, so who knows what's going to happen," added Fran.

When the road is created, Simmons said detention ponds will be created to detain stormwater and run it off at a slower rate.

Simmons said, "Even though (the land) is going to be higher, the stormwater is all going to run off the same direction it did previously. The runoff is going to be equal to what it is right now, even with land raised up a bit."

In general, residents expressed great interest in seeing lakefront development momentum.

"I think it's a benefit for the area," said Steve Piteros, owner of a strip mall property on South Chicago Road. "It's like a forgotten side of town. That area needs redevelopment. It needs a road.

"I think (O'Malley) elevating it and having development will be beneficial for farmers' land," he added. "Once that land develops, I believe water would have to go somewhere instead of just an open field."

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