A Letter From the President: June 2015
The last months have been exciting for our creative placemaking initiative and projects. As you may recall, we launched the Creative Placemaking Committee last fall, chaired by Ellen Gilligan and Barry Mandel. The second full committee meeting took place yesterday, but subcommittees have been meeting regularly all year.
In the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods, the GMC is working with Riverworks Center, the City of Milwaukee and MKE<->LAX on the Beerline Trail Neighborhood Development creative placemaking project. We are investing in this corridor as an opportunity for the sharing of access and resources between the neighborhoods and a spine for redevelopment. As a vibrant public space, the trail serves as the symbol and the source of our focus on access and equity. The bike trial in the Riverworks area is far from just a bike trail; it has become an important component of neighborhood economic revitalization.
This project exemplifies the importance of cross-sector, public/private partnerships. Through a strategic actioning process earlier this year, a wide range of participants from across sectors and interest worked to create an interactive infrastructure as well as an integrated process for communication, planning and workflow. In the subsequent months, we held a follow-up session and hired two project coordinators, and Riverworks hired two new staff members to focus on the project. Keep an eye out for a news conference and more updates coming soon.
The second area we focus on is West Wisconsin Avenue, where WAM DC has formed a Creative Placemaking Subcommittee in order to support efforts along The Avenue. This subcommittee is a collaboration with the City of Milwaukee, the GMC, Westown Association, NEWaukee, Creative Alliance Milwaukee (CAM), MKE<->LAX and other neighborhood stakeholders.
The subcommittee’s work aligns with the City of Milwaukee’s Growing Prosperity Plan including using creative placemaking to establish places within Milwaukee in which all segments of the community and region can interact. Further alignment with the City’s plan includes revitalizing The Avenue with a focus on cultivating artists as entrepreneurs, supporting innovative businesses, enhancing quality of life and opportunity, and improving neighborhood market conditions.
The WAM DC Creative Placemaking Subcommittee builds from work initiated in 2014 through Creational Trails: The Avenue including the NEWaukee Night Market, which was supported by ArtPlace America, and CAM’s 4MKE Initiative, which was commissioned by WAM DC. These 2014 summer initiatives influenced community perspective on safety, density and vibrancy on The Avenue, particularly at night, through the integration of art and creative entrepreneurship. The Avenue explores walkability and interaction with a broad range of cultures enjoying downtown’s main street through animating a vacant lot and historic streetscape.
The WAM DC Creative Placemaking Subcommittee also announces a second summer of collaborative programming with Westown Wednesdays, which this year includes the Westown Association Farmers’ Market, River Rhythms, the NEWaukee Night Market and CAM’s 4MKE Initiative. This collaboration is made possible with the support of the City of Milwaukee, WAM DC, the GMC, CAM, NEWaukee, the Westown Association and MKE<->LAX, with funding support from local businesses and the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant, which also includes in-kind technical support from the Project for Public Spaces.
As you can see, there isn’t a dull moment in our creative placemaking projects. We look forward to supporting a more vibrant and connected city in the years to come.
Julia Taylor President Greater Milwaukee Committee