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Freshwater Way's Newest Neighbor
The Global Water Center is open for business
Although the press release referred to the official opening of Milwaukee's Global Water Center as a ribbon-cutting ceremony, organizers couldn't resist working in one more reference to H2O. And so Gov. Scott Walker and Mayor Tom Barrett were joined by other Water Center power brokers in chipping away at an ice carving, also known as "breaking the ice." And with that, assorted guests roamed through the seven-story, $22 million facility that civic leaders hope will make Milwaukee the "Silicon Valley of fresh water." Aiding in those efforts are approximately 25 businesses that will hold leases at the center, plus UWM's School of Freshwater Sciences who have labs, classrooms and offices spread about the entire 7th floor. According to Paul Jones, co-founder and co-chair of the Water Council and en exec with A.O. Smith (one of those aforementioned tenants), the center is just the beginning. Referring to a plot of land due west of the center, he said "five years from now, you will see a new water-driven economy flourishing in Reed Street Yards." While that remains to be seen, the crowd that was on hand for Thursday's unveiling was all smiles. The fact that MillerCoors provided a Champagne of Beers toast might have had something to do with that. The neighborhood is already getting a fresh influx of bars and restaurants (even a chocolatier), which bodes well for Jones' prediction.

By the way, it was only a coincidence that First Lady Michelle Obama was in Watertown on Thursday to talk up the benefits of drinking more water, but it sure seemed like a happy coincidence to the pols gathered, even Republican Gov. Walker.

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