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R.A. Smith National Attends, Sponsors Brookfield Showcase

by Justin Schueler 7. October 2016 08:17

The Wisconsin chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, held a municipal showcase featuring the City of Brookfield. It’s quite the exciting time in Brookfield because the city is growing. What better way to learn about current and future developments than by taking a tour? R.A. Smith National’s Justin Schueler, P.E., traffic engineer, and Steve Miazga, P.E., business development manager, participated in the event. R.A. Smith National was pleased to be a gold sponsor of the October 6, 2016, municipal showcase event.

Justin praised the event and shared the following:

The Municipal Showcase started at the Brookfield Embassy Suites by Hilton, where Steve Ponto, the mayor of Brookfield, provided an overview of the many active and planned construction projects in the city (many of which R.A. Smith National has been involved with, including Portillo’s and The Reserve at Brookfield apartments to name a couple), and then we took a bus tour of three sites:

1. Brookfield Square Mall: The general manager of the mall presented on active and proposed improvements, including a new Chick-fil-A restaurant replacing the Associated Bank and new restaurant/retail uses planned around the outside of the exiting Boston Store.  Chick-fil-A’s opening of the 124th Street location in Brookfield was its largest in company history, which factored into them considering the second site in Brookfield. 

2. The Corridor: A mixed-use development on the former Ruby Farms site. Retail development is planned to the north along Bluemound Road and is anchored by Dick’s Sporting Goods and is home of the first Wisconsin Portillo’s (which was the company’s third-largest opening in its history). Free samples of their world-famous chocolate cake shakes were provided. The Corridor has a flex area in the middle for hotel/medical/fitness/retail development. Three large office buildings or corporate headquarters are planned to the south along I-94. 

3. The Corners: A mixed-use retail/residential “lifestyle” development. It includes the first Wisconsin Von Maur department store, planned grocery, retail and 244 apartment units. Enough concrete was used on the site to build a 46-story high-rise building. The site features an outdoor shopping setting (similar to Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, Wis., but about one-half the size). 

The event ended with a cocktail happy hour with appetizers back at the Embassy Suites by Hilton.  The developments are expected to generate thousands of new jobs and further entrench Bluemound Road as a premier commercial corridor.

In the photo immediately below: Renderings and site maps of the city’s growth.
In the photo further below: Learning more about The Corridor.

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General | Land Development | Municipal

Regulation of the Invasive Species Takeover

by Theran Stautz 25. February 2016 13:14

Our native landscape is our home, the little world we live in, where we are born and where we play, where we grow up, and finally where we are… laid to eternal rest. It speaks of the distant past and carries our life in the tomorrow. To keep this pure and unadulterated is a sacred heritage and noble task of the highest cultural value. 
— Jens Jensen, landscape architect, 1860-1951

Theran Stautz, ecologist/project manager

Invasive species, both animal and vegetative, are becoming an increasingly large problem in the United States. Nationally, billions of dollars are spent every year by private landowners, municipalities, non-profits and state agencies to control the spread of these species.  In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources alone spent approximately $11 million to control invasive species in 2013 (WDNR Invasive Species Report, 2013).

Two examples of recent invasive species issues are the attempts to prevent Asian carp from becoming established in the Upper Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, and the infestation of Phragmites on the south and west shores of Green Bay. Those of us who enjoy camping know firsthand how the State Park System rules have changed in the last several years in regard to firewood and the spread of the emerald ash borer.

Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.

The Wisconsin Legislature established “the Invasive Species Rule” in 2009, making it “illegal to possess, transport, transfer or introduce certain invasive species in Wisconsin without a permit” (Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 40). A list of regulated species can be found at the WDNR’s website.  Additionally, in 2013 the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council created a statewide strategic plan for 2013-2016, highlighting objectives and goals to guide stakeholders in the process of establishing invasive species control plans.

If you are interested in helping with these efforts, please contact your local Prairie Enthusiasts chapter or The Nature Conservancy for more information.  In addition, other local organizations such as Wild Ones, Pheasants Forever and State Parks “Friends” groups provide educational opportunities and other volunteer events.  You can also contact any one of our ecologists at R.A. Smith National.

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Ecology

Top 8 Amazing Sights of Nature

by Tina Myers 29. June 2015 14:41

As part of our June 30x30 Nature Challenge Month, wetland ecologist and amateur photographer Tina Myers would like to encourage all of you to step away from your electronic devices this summer, get in touch with your natural heritage, and discover the amazing spectacles found in nature in your own backyard. You never know what you may come across! For example, take a look at these photos and learn something you may not have already known…

Photo 1:  There are 21 species of snakes in Wisconsin, four of which are endangered. This particular snake, the Butler’s garter snake, was listed as State Threatened for many years, but was removed from the list on January 1, 2014, and is now listed as Special Concern. 

  

Photo 2:  There are over 160 species of dragonflies and damselflies that can be found in Wisconsin. This particular species, found during a field visit in Franklin, Wis., is a female green darner. Like so many species, dragonflies depend on aquatic ecosystems to fulfill their lifecycles.  

Photo 3:  This beauty is known as the Dwarf Lake Iris and is a State–Threatened and Federally Threatened plant found near Lake Michigan. This small plant grows nowhere else in the world but in the Great Lakes Region. I was lucky enough to see it in bloom at a nature preserve near Bailey’s Harbor, Wis., just a couple of weeks ago.       

Photo 4:  You often see beautiful tropical orchids being sold at grocery stores and garden centers these days. But did you know there are approximately 50 different species of orchids in Wisconsin that are just as beautiful? Many are quite rare and are listed as Threatened or Endangered. This particular species, the large yellow lady’s slipper, is locally abundant in Door County where I took this photo. There are six species of lady slipper orchids alone in Wisconsin. 

Photo 5:  Native prairie ecosystems once covered a large portion of our landscape throughout the Midwest, but due to urban development and agriculture, these ecosystems have become quite rare. In fact, the native tallgrass prairie is thought to be the most endangered ecosystem in North America. This photo shows a rare low prairie found not more than an hour away from our Brookfield office in the Southern Kettle Moraine.

Photos 6 and 7:  Winter is no excuse for not getting out to enjoy the wonders that nature has to offer. These photos were taken up at the Lake Superior Bayfield Peninsula Ice Caves. These ice caves are not open every year to the public and sometimes the ice is only safe enough to walk on for a week or two, so seeing these up close is quite rare. People came out in droves to see them the last two winters. But even if you can’t get there in winter, that’s OK; just take a trip in summer and see the caves up close in person via kayak!

Photo 8:  Clean water is important to all of us. Wisconsin boasts some of the most beautiful lakes and rivers in the Midwest, like this one up near Crivitz. The USEPA recently came out with a new “Clean Water Rule,” which more precisely defines waters that are protected under the Clean Water Act. For more information about this rule, click here.

And a bonus Photo 9:  Did you know that the month of June is designated as Leave No Child Inside Month? More than ever, children are spending more time using electronic devices like TVs, cell phones and computers that are steering further away from their natural heritage. This summer, be sure to spend some quality time with your children in the great outdoors and teach them the importance of nature.          

 

What are your favorite nature sightings? Let us know in the comments.

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Ecology

Wisconsin Changes Professional Surveyor Designation

by John Casucci 30. May 2014 08:30

As of September 1, 2014, all registered land surveyors in the state of Wisconsin will have the designation Professional Land Surveyor (PLS). Prior to this change, surveyors were referred to as a Licensed Land Surveyor, Registered Land Surveyor or Professional Land Surveyor, all of which are interchangeable titles referencing the same certification. This change was enacted to clarify state laws and standardize the designation. 

 

 

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Surveying

Wisconsin Implements J-Turn Intersections

by Tom Conto 19. May 2014 05:04

J-turn intersections, also known as restricted crossing U-turns, are being implemented in Wisconsin and nationwide. These new intersections are changing how motorists navigate through high-speed, divided highways. The J-turn requires motorists that intend to go left or straight at these intersections, first turn right onto the roadway and then perform a U-turn at the indicated “J” turning location.

This new intersection design reduces the number of traffic crossing points, minimizing the likelihood of fatal accidents. Drivers have a significantly reduced chance of side-impact collisions in a J-turn intersection because the vehicle doesn’t directly cross over multiple lanes of traffic.  

R.A. Smith National provided construction oversight and management for the J-Turn intersection constructed at the WIS 23 and County M intersection in Sheboygan County. Prior to installation of the J-Turn, this intersection had a high rate of right-angle vehicle collisions. Three additional intersections - Fairview Drive, CTH E and Pleasant View at WIS 23 - were constructed with dedicated left-turn lanes and right-turn only intersections to further reduce accident potential.

View this video released by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation explaining how to drive in a J-turn and its benefits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4FBgagbpyg&list=PLB3995DECC4B6C61A 

 

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