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Home / Editors' Picks / Milwaukee aldermen OK pedestrian canopies, ban hate symbols on construction sites

Milwaukee aldermen OK pedestrian canopies, ban hate symbols on construction sites

Milwaukee aldermen have approved a proposal that would require certain downtown construction and demolition projects to come equipped with canopies meant to protect passersby.

Separately, Common Council members gave their blessing to a new directive that would effectively ban the display of hate symbols on city job sites.

Convening for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday morning, the Milwaukee Common Council approved a proposed ordinance change that would require canopy roofs be installed as part of any construction or demolition work taking up space on sidewalks or other public right-of-way space in downtown Milwaukee. The one exception would be for any construction or demolition project that is taking place at street level.

Alderman Robert Bauman, who introduced the proposal, had pointed out in previous meetings that when construction projects cause sidewalks to be shut down, passersby are often forced to either cross the street or even walk along the street. He said canopies would let pedestrians continue using sidewalks without having to worry about falling debris.

Common Council members also passed a resolution directing the city’s Department of Public Works to include a clause in all public-works contracts forbidding contractors or their employees to display hate symbols at job sites.

The proposal, introduced by Alderman Tony Zielinski, would ban from job sites any symbols that are found on the Anti-Defamation League’s database of hate symbols.

Zielinski’s proposal comes in response to a photograph that recently emerged on social media showing a cooler decorated with a Confederate flag and Ku Klux Klan stickers at a public-works job site. The cooler was found to belong to an employee of American Sewer Services, a contractor then performing work for the city.

The Rubicon-based sewer contractor has also come under fire in recent months for images showing some of its workers bringing guns to job sites. In December, three American Sewer Services employees were photographed carrying handguns, and another employee was discovered during a job-site inspection in January to be carrying a concealed firearm.

The contractor has since fired a number of employees and forfeited some contracts it had with the city.

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