Shopping Center Challenge

Issue 5 and Volume 124.

Shopping Center Challenge An increasing problem for small fire departments around the nation is the building of huge shopping centers within their boundaries. Compounding this problem is the growing use of enclosed-mall construction, tending to eliminate outside access to individual stores. Typifying these difficulties is the newly opened $70-million, two-level Southridge shopping center in Milwaukee County, Wis., the largest single retail complex in the Midwest. How local fire officials are coping with the challenge may hold some lessons for others. Located about 10 miles southwest of downtown Milwaukee, the millionsquare-foot Southridge development occupies a 110-acre site within the Village of Greendale (population 15,000) except for the northernmost portion inside the City of Greenfield (population 25,000). Paid department formed More than four years ago, the developer’s investigations concluded that the small Greendale volunteer fire force would be unable to protect the center adequately. Rather than lose the proposed center, Greendale officials…

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