The Boomgaard Boondoggle

A few weeks ago, the Oak Creek and Franklin common councils voted in favor of naming the South 27th Street corridor the “Boomgaard District,” a name that’s the brainchild of the South 27th Street Steering Committee and Zizzo Group Advertising + Public Relations, a Milwaukee firm hired by the cities for $370,000 to brand and market the district for development. Not long after the name was announced to the public, folks from both communities began to question the choice, and what began as a few bloggers noting their confusion and concern has turned into a full-fledged news story.

What I found to be most interesting in the MJS story on Boomgaard was a quote attributed to Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender, who said:

“I want it changed,” said Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender, who broke a 3-3 Common Council tie in favor of the name during a closed session in March – an apparent violation of state open meetings law – though he insists he was never enamored of the choice.

“My heart wasn’t in it then, and it’s not in it now,” he said.

What I can’t help but wonder is why Mayor Bolender voted in favor of a name he wasn’t absolutely sold on, and what’s more, I can’t help but wonder why he voted in favor of a name he didn’t fully support, given the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent coming up with the name. I’ve emailed Mayor Bolender for clarification on why he voted in favor of the Boomgaard if he wasn’t fully convinced it was the right choice for the 27th Street corridor, and hopefully he’ll have a good answer, because his comments voicing his concern about the name – which come after the public has reacted negatively to the name – seem to fly in the face of his vote in favor of the name.

Greg Kowalski over at Today’s Concerns has some excellent commentary on the decision to name the corridor the “Boomgaard District,” and he’s been leading efforts by bloggers and citizens of both communities, so go check out what’s he’s written on the “Boomgaard Boondoggle.”


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