Bucyrus Commons

Amidst uncertain times, Saiki Design created a vision for a public plaza through remote engagement, creative design integration, and community resilience.

South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Bucyrus Commons represents the first phase of development of the South Milwaukee Community Plaza, a planning project led by Saiki Design that crafted a vision for redevelopment of a portion of streetscape and public space in the heart of downtown South Milwaukee. The name Bucyrus Common gives credit to The Bucyrus Steam Shovel and Dredge Company, a neighbor to the redevelopment area and a major sponsor of the first phase of the project’s installation.

Saiki Design led site planning and design, coordinating closely with KEE Architecture who provided architectural design for the plaza’s three structures and Collins Engineering who contributed to site grading and stormwater documentation for the site. The plan is organized around a central axis that physically terminates on one end at a three-seasons stage and visually terminates on the other end across 11thAvenue with a view of Da Crusher Statue, an homage to South Milwaukee native Reggie “Da Crusher” Lisowski and a symbol of the history of the hard-working community. Other features of the project include an open-air pavilion to host weekly farmer’s market events during inclement weather, a large and open lawn for events, festivals and musical performance and a seating node and plaza entrance in the northwest corner that provides a backdrop for an annual tree lighting ceremony during the holidays.

The project team and City conducted outdoor engagement activities on-site during the pandemic such as a weekly farmers market, outdoor musical performances and attempts at a temporary outdoor beer garden, all while observing social distancing guidelines.  The events invited the public to the underutilized site, enlivened it with activity and programming, and provided opportunities for additional interaction and visioning with some success.  On-site placards, handouts and return drop boxes were used to enhance public input.  In all, over 700 individual responses were received from the public at large.  Those responses, combined with intensive participation from committee members, elected officials, city staff, community and business organizations framed a final concept master plan used to seek final approvals and secure funding.

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