A while ago I wrote about my admiration of a threatened grove of trees outside the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. I held that grove as something of a sacred space in downtown Milwaukee. Well, we can refer to those trees in the past tense now.


Crews on Saturday cut down nearly 20 trees in a grove at downtown Milwaukee’s Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, saddening advocates who pushed in recent months to save the space from renovation.


About 15 trees remained in the grove Saturday evening. A Milwaukee Common Council vote last week allowed Marcus Center officials to move forward on their plan to remove the grove entirely and replace it with a lawn fringed by 18 honey locust trees.

So let me dig into the minutiae a bit about what is now fait accompli. Honey locusts? Really?? We can’t find a more decorous tree than that? We have hundreds of them across the city. The city forestry department loves them so they plant them everywhere. But can’t we like…find 18 different native trees to use? That would be beautiful.

And a lawn? Isn’t an urban lawn one of the most environmentally unfriendly landscape choices we have??

And since apparently, we taxpayers, as owners of the building and grounds, have no say in its use or condition…let’s sell it to the highest bidder and use the funds to fix the Domes or move the Museum or improve other county cultural assets. A downtown square block lot on the Milwaukee River must be a pretty desirable piece of real estate…and I mean what good is a 50+ year old brutalist building anyway?

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