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“This is a game changer for us all.” Wellpoint Care Network breaks ground on green stormwater infrastructure project in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson (left) with County Exec David Crowley with WellPoint CEO Ann Leunfelder (Photo by Omar Waheed)

Continued work to serve the community and alleviate Milwaukee’s ongoing stormwater flooding issues broke ground after Wellpoint Care Network officially started on its multi-year project to change its facilities.

On May 21, WellPoint Care Network on Milwaukee’s North Side, invited the community out to its facilities to talk about its latest project which will increase its services along with beautification of grounds tailored to the community and a way to address flooding in the neighborhood.

The project includes improving facilities with a state-of-the-art mental health clinic, trauma-informed care training center, a community social hall and redevelopment and beautification of its grounds to capture 1 million gallons of stormwater with WellPoint’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure project (GSI).

“That was one of our main drivers when I served as a commissioner years ago,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson about capturing rainwater. “These are all wonderful moments here on campus here on site to beautify and enrich the northwest side… I’m excited to see this project completed in just the next few short months.”

The groundbreaking, which took place after two days of rain, already saw the start of its stormwater plan working. Bioretention basins, shallow landscape depressions meant to prevent stormwater runoff, located along the sides of WellPoint’s campus were already started on and showed proof of its effectiveness.

The green stormwater infrastructure project is set to be completed by October.
(Photo by Omar Waheed)

Flooding caused by stormwater runoffs has continued to be an issue in Milwaukee with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District asking residents to cut water usage.  

In addition to the facilities and attempts to reduce flooding in the area, the improvements to the area aim to serve as a focal point for community use. Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, who is a resident of the area, plans to take full advantage of the new walking paths for his own mental health and recreation.

“When it comes down to the flood management that we’re seeing right here within the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County …this is a game changer for us all,” Crowley said. “This allows us to make sure that our neighborhoods are safe, but it also provides green spaces to provide that mental and physical relaxation if people want to take walks through the park, around the bio wells or just be in awe because of the beautiful plants that are around.”

Crowley likens WellPoint’s project to how cities with similar problems from stormwater runoffs causing flooding can alleviate their respective problems. Crowley points to how the project not only helps the health and well-being of residents, but the monetary health that is often overlooked from floods. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that one in of flooding can cause up to $25,000 in damages to homeowners.

The overall project is slated to take multiple years to complete but the GSI portion is intended to finish this coming October.