DELAYED: Milwaukee County Board won't vote on proposed O'Donnell Park sale until December 18th

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee County Board has decided to hold off on a vote to sell the O'Donnell Parking Structure to Northwestern Mutual. The Board on Thursday, November 6th voted 14-3 to lay over the vote until December 18th.

Northwestern Mutual has offered to purchase the O'Donnell Parking Structure and O'Donnell Park near Milwaukee's lakefront for about $13 million.

Northwestern Mutual is interested because the property is directly across the street from where the company is building a new office tower.

If the deal were to be approved, Milwaukee County would no longer be responsible for needed maintenance and upkeep of the parking structure, and it could pay off debt owed on the property and be left with about $5 million for parks.

The opportunity has had its detractors.

"A lot of people are confused. They thought the entire property was deed restricted and Northwestern Mutual would be subject to those deed restrictions. That is not correct. They are only going to be subjected to deed restrictions on the northern portion -- from Wisconsin Avenue north -- so everything from Wisconsin Avenue south to Michigan is not deed restricted," Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said.

"If you don't like what's in front of you, vote against it -- but but to think that Northwestern Mutual is all the sudden gonna change their mind for the southeast corner," Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve Taylor said.

Future development of the southeastern portion of the property appears to be Jursik's biggest concern.

"The lakeshore area of the lake -- right next to Lincoln Memorial Drive -- that should continue to be public, as it is now, a public plaza. I'd like to see that public piece remain," Jursik said.

Taylor seemed to wonder out loud what the big deal is.

"It's grass that maybe gets cut once in awhile. I'm not knocking our Parks Department, but they have limited resources," Taylor said.

County supervisors decided to delay the vote on the purchase agreement until the board meets again on December 18th.

Between now and the December 18th meeting, county supervisors will submit questions about the sale to the legal counsel, and those questions will be answered before the next vote.

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