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Former Chalet restaurant site to be turned into parking lot

Quarter-acre lot would provide 16 parking spaces

July 16, 2013

West Allis — A business that went under long ago in the Six Points area is now expected to help other businesses flourish there.

West Allis plans to turn the site of the former Chalet restaurant into a parking lot to provide needed parking for area businesses. The 0.24 acres at 6215 W. National Ave. would provide 16 spaces. They would be an extension of a municipal parking lot at 62nd Street and Orchard Avenue.

More parking in the Six Points area where National and Greenfield avenues come together has been in city development plans for some time. But upcoming construction work on Interstate 94 might have given an extra push to parking lot construction.

"We expect a fairly large increase in traffic (on National Avenue)," said Alderman Tom Lajsic, chairman of the Safety and Development Committee.

With that traffic comes the increased hazard of accidents.

To reduce that risk, Lajsic said, there has been talk of temporarily removing parking on the street.

"There are no current plans to bring that idea forward, but we have to be prepared," he said.

The parking lot could be done as early as this year, but next spring for sure. The city still has to buy the land from Milwaukee County.

Taking a more long-range view, businesses in the area have been asking for a parking lot for a long time, Lajsic said, and city officials feel that providing more parking will keep and promote businesses there.

The Chalet restaurant stood abandoned for some time and was eventually condemned. Milwaukee County took the property for back taxes and the building was razed. The city will pay up to $50,000 for the land; the total cost, including land acquisition, is estimated at $200,000.

The city has enough federal Community Development Block Grant money to cover nearly all of that. With a $100,000 contingency, the total project budget is $300,000. The contingency could be covered also by additional federal funds following an Aug. 6 public hearing on using the money for the project.

The new municipal parking lot would be "green," using paving that let rain soak into the soil, said Joe Burtch, assistant city engineer. Encouraging communities to keep rainwater from running off into sewers and causing flooding or sewer backups is a major thrust of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Pavers will be laid on the lot with space for water to flow between them, Burtch said. Rain will then collect in spaces between stones laid below the pavers and soak into the soil. A normal drainage pipe also will be laid to get rid of stormwater in heavy rains, he said.

Because the pavers are more expensive than normal paving, the city will use asphalt for the driveway, slanting it toward the pavers.

"That's what we did to keep it affordable," Burtch said.

THE FACTS

The skinny on a new parking lot for Six Points (6215 W. National Ave.):

· 16 spaces

· $200,000 covered by federal dollars

· $100,000 contingency that could be covered by federal money after Aug. 6 hearing

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