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Special needs group plans move to Glendale

Milwaukee Center for Independence needs more space for programs

Jan. 15, 2014

Glendale — The Milwaukee Center for Independence is planning to open an office in Glendale for several main campus operations by this spring.

The Plan Commission on Tuesday approved a use and occupancy request from MCFI to operate programming related to its employment and financial support services from the former Actuant building and adjacent parking lot, located at 6100-6120 N. Baker Road.

Community Development Director Todd Stuebe said the approval was contingent upon agreement by MCFI, which will be leasing the building, to pay property taxes at the site.

MCFI is a community resource for children, teens, adults and older adults with special needs. According to the plan of operation submitted to the city, the organization will use the approximately 83,000-square-foot building for three main activities — MCFI Employment Services, a resource providing comprehensive services to meet the needs of job seekers and employers; MCFI Work Services, a program focusing on helping participants develop critical work and daily living skills; and general and professional offices for MCFI iLIFE, a financial support service.

MCFI's main campus is currently located at the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Building, 2020 W. Wells St., in Milwaukee. Since moving to that location in 2004, the organization has expanded considerably, explained Jim Hill, vice president for government relations and housing.

"It's a testament to the reputation that we have in the community for the quality of services that we provide," Hill said.

"The campus building at 20th and Wells is simply not large enough to accommodate the various functions that we're hoping to carry out at this particular address," he added.

MCFI expects to be open for business at the Baker Road location by April 1. About 100 to 150 employees will work from that location, typically during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with activity from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Programs may occasionally operate longer hours or weekend hours as well.

Regarding use of the 162-space parking lot at the site, MCFI estimates about 200 staff and vocational training participants would be coming to the site for most or all of the work day — including about 85 driving or ride-sharing, 105 using public transportation and 10 walking or cycling — and about 50 short-time visitors may be there at any given time.

In response to Commissioner Ilmar Junge's concerns about semi traffic at the property, Hill explained that the two tractor-trailers visiting the site daily would be delivering prepackaged lunch materials to be assembled on site and shipped to various local school districts.

AT A GLANCE

Founded more than 70 years ago, the Milwaukee Center for Independence is a community resource serving more than 8,000 children, teens, adults and older adults with special needs as well as their families. MCFI programming is provided in four major areas — children's programs, long-term care, employment services and behavioral health programs.

For more information, visit mcfi.net.

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