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Downtown Taskforce Formed as Street Closure Quarrel Continues

Common Council approves appointments to new taskforce.

As downtown bickering over street closures continues, especially for , the l agreed to form a downtown taskforce that will address concerns related to events that occur in the central business district.

After a lengthy discussion and mixed public comment, the following people were appointed to the taskforce:

  • Norm Bruce; Business Improvement District Board President
  • Roger Igielski; Downtown Business Association President
  • Lynn Gaffey; West End Artists Director
  • Alderman Eric Payne
  • Alderman Roger Patton
  • Alderman Steve Johnson
  • Alderman Joe Pieper
  • Vicky Hekkers; downtown resident and property owner
  • Jim Taylor; Co-owner of
  • Alan Huelsman downtown property owner
  • Mayor Jeff Scrima (chairman with ability to break a tie vote)

Payne and Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings voted against creating the group. Payne said he wanted people who “aren’t front page news” on the taskforce.

Cummings, though, blasted Mayor Jeff Scrima because she made a referral to discuss the street closures and it took 35 days for anything to move forward, she said.

The taskforce will be unable to complete the necessary work by April 1 as plans move forward for the summer weekly music events, Cummings said.

“You are asking a group of people that has behavior as such that they aren’t going to be able to accomplish this in eight weeks,” Cummings said. “… I hope that this taskforce is able to be just like Speedy Gonzales and just move through and address all these issues and concerns. But in my heart of hearts, I don’t believe it will. Nothing in the past behavior indicates to me that they will. And we will be sitting here again with these same issues again and again.”

Cummings was frustrated about many issues with the taskforce. One issue she had was a document with the names of people on the taskforce being given to members of the public before she received a copy of it.

“I was at and I asked Patch, can I read that document?” Cummings said.

Later she commented about the document itself. She also said she was not given respect by not originally receiving the document from the mayor.

“Frankly for transparency, I have got a document that is not even signed,” Cummings said. “It does not state it is from the office of the mayor. It is not signed. I assume it is from the mayor. So much for transparency.”

Scrima commented that Cummings received the document 10 days ago and that his administrative assistant called her three weeks ago to set up a meeting but that Cummings had replied she was too busy with three jobs. Cummings responded to Scrima that she had told the administrative assistant to call her back the next week.

Public Reaction to Downtown Taskforce

a BID board member who has publicly opposed the street closures for events, said there are members on the group are not willing for a compromise.

“Put some other people on instead of the same old people,” she said.

Gaffey, though, felt the group was well represented.

“I think it was well thought out and I think we should move forward with it,” she said.

Taylor said he’s willing to work with those of differing viewpoints on the taskforce.

“Friday Night Live truthfully won’t affect our sales on those evenings,” Taylor said about Friday Night Live. “I have a more of a long term goal for my restaurant and for downtown Waukesha.”

Johnny Paycheck February 08, 2012 at 05:10 PM
What an embarrassment some of these people are to Waukesha-- Cummings in particular. If she's blasting the mayor because this took a month to put together and says everybody takes too long but then later admits that she was part of the hold-up by rejecting the invitation she got from the mayors assistant. She doesn't have much right to complain if the told the mayors assistant to call her back in a week. Who elected that loser anyway?
John Q Citizen February 08, 2012 at 07:36 PM
This whole situation is broke. It is a popular event that shows people the good in this city. Would they rather have it like it used to be where on a Friday the only people you see on the streets are cops, homeless, and drunks? The downtown community is able to expand due to this event. Just because a memeber of this chose to reside downtown and now wants to treat everything like a noise complaint should not be allowed to infringe on the rest of the City's activites. This is just a waste of time any taskforce is going to be deadlocked as no one wants to give in either direction. The real losers of any outcome is going to be the City.
Tim Nekich February 09, 2012 at 10:02 AM
I respect all the people appointed to this comittee. Their success depends on how willing they are to leave their personalities outside the door and deal with the real issues. There are workable ideas out there.
michaelm February 10, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Having served on many professional boards, panels, and teams as well as the same for religious groups, government, and volunteer groups I can tell you whenever they are this large little takes place, and what ever does get accomplished takes far too much time. Only a few leaders will drive the discussion and when there are this many people some will just listen or cause delays and jockey for position. A group of five people would have been much better and be able to work quickly. I'll be surprised if they accomplish anything.

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