Northwestern Mutual, who is one of Franklin’s largest employers, has answered the call when the Milwaukee County Parks department requested that they get involved in efforts to enhance Falk Park which is part of the Milwaukee County Park System near their Franklin campus.
The initial contact led to several years of dialog with Milwaukee County and the City of Oak Creek which culminated last week when the Milwaukee County Board approved a three-way land exchange that would increase the size of Falk Park.
For those of you that are not familiar with Falk Park, it is located in Oak Creek, and lies between Rawson and Drexel Avenues just to the east of 27th Street.
In an innovative agreement, Northwestern Mutual will exchange undeveloped, privately owned, park-like land that they control immediately to the south of the current Falk Park for primarily fallow farm-like land that is currently part of Falk Park.
If the land exchange receives final approvals by the State of Wisconsin and the National Parks Service which would include land parcels being exchanged between the city of Oak Creek and Milwaukee County, then Falk Park will grow by more than an additional 35 acres .
The quality of the acreage will be enhanced as the county receives the environmentally significant, 42-acre Esch Honadel Woods. You may not know this but the woods are currently privately owned and unprotected from future commercial development.
By Northwestern Mutual entering the picture, they purchased the land that includes the Esch Honadel Woods along with additional high-quality park like land near the woods.
Northwestern Mutual is looking to help maintain the quality of development around the Franklin campus as part of the neighborhood and willing to take steps like this that will benefit the area.
This project is occurring despite that detractors on the Forward Franklin committee have spoken against Northwestern Mutual in the past when they gave over 1.6 million dollars toward the building of the Drexel Interchange which is going in this year.
Good thing Northwestern Mutual does not take them seriously.