Public Trust Doctrine Faces New Test

Public Trust Doctrine Faces New Test


Preserve Our Parks devotes our home page to our current fight to preserve Wisconsin’s Public Trust Doctrine, a constitutional provision that prohibits commercial development on land-filled lakebed. We seek support from individuals, organizations and lawmakers who believe in this key environmental landmark.

The center of the controversy is the County Transit Center site, which the county wants to sell to a developer who proposes a 44-story mixed-use high-rise there. POP has found old maps that show a good share of the site is land-filled lakebed, thus inappropriate for such a venture. The Department of Natural Resources, designated watchdog for the Public Trust Doctrine, hedged on its responsibilities and the Legislature added a late night provision to the budget bill – without a public hearing or committee vote – declaring the Transit Center site did not fall under the doctrine. A curious way to amend the Wisconsin Constitution!

POP does not oppose the proposed tower; just don’t build it on Public Trust land. And we do not oppose development of non-public-trust land in the area. In fact, POP commissioned two prominent Milwaukee architects, Mark and Linda Keane, to create a concept of how the area could be converted into a Grand Gateway to Milwaukee.

Read more about our point of view on the following pages:

Preserve Our Parks, a nonprofit watchdog group, battles to keep Milwaukee area parks open and green, resists incursions for non-park uses, and fights for funds to properly maintain one of the County’s greatest treasures, its parks system.