Equipped with a set of real jumper cables, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett launched a program today that will jump-start efforts to revitalize neighborhood commercial districts. The Main Street Milwaukee program earned the approval of the Common Council and was signed into action today by Mayor Barrett.
“We know that some commercial main streets need a jump start and today we’re ready with the jumper cables,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “I believe the Main Street Milwaukee program will harness investment and energy in ways that will boost our local neighborhood shopping districts. Jumper cables only work when you make the right connections. Main Street Milwaukee connects public and private efforts in a way we’ve not seen before.”
Commercial main streets help provide an identity for a neighborhood while offering goods and services to residents. Main Street Milwaukee focuses revitalization efforts of traditional neighborhood commercial districts. The program is based on both a national model and Wisconsin’s Main Street program. Main Street Milwaukee differs from other programs because it pools together public and private funding.
The program uses $350,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds and matches it with private resources contributed by the following partners:
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
State Farm Insurance
Helen Bader Foundation
Greater Milwaukee Foundation
Potawatomi Community Foundation
Wisconsin Commerce Department
The Department of City Development (DCD) will partner with the Milwaukee Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) to facilitate Main Street Milwaukee. The program requires neighborhood-based organizations to join with community stakeholders (property owners, merchants and residents) to follow a 4-point plan to transform a main street into a thriving, attractive commercial district. The plan is community driven and concentrates efforts to help improve the appearance of the street and its storefronts, attract and retain quality neighborhood-focused businesses, generate commercial building rehabilitation, build consensus and cooperation, and promote the district to rekindle community pride and attract customers and investors.
“This program demonstrates that the private sector is willing to step into a closer partnership with the City in addressing community problems,” said LISC Board Chair Tim Keane. “We believe in Main Street Milwaukee because it provides a structure for redevelopment and insures accountability and impact.”
Block Grant funds will be used to provide a Main Street Manager for each of the four designated commercial districts. Private sector resources and funds will be used to provide capacity-building trainings, planning services, architectural services, small business development assistance, specialized consulting services and small grants. This is in addition to the services DCD already provides.
“We’re excited to work with the City on the Main Street Milwaukee program, which will help strengthen the economic foundation of our community,” said Kelly Savage, of State Farm Insurance. “We are confident this program will lead to greater success for families and businesses, such as ours, in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods.”
Up to four commercial districts will be designated to participate in the Main Street Milwaukee program. The ‘main streets’ will be chosen using a competitive process, with a nine-member appointed board making the final selections. Neighborhood commercial districts within the federal block grant boundaries may apply but must partner with a non-profit 501c(3) and attend a workshop prior to the application deadline.
Main Street Milwaukee Schedule
Application workshops: December 2-4, 2004
Application deadline: January 24, 2005
Main Street Milwaukee Board names the 4 designated ‘Main Streets’:
February 28, 2005
Mayor Barrett also signed a resolution today approving budgets for 18 existing Business Improvement Districts. Those BID’s include the Historic Third Ward, Greater Mitchell Street, Westown, Avenues West, Brady Street, Oakland Avenue, Riverwalks, West North Avenue, 76th/Brown Deer, Villard Avenue, East North Avenue, Milwaukee Downtown, Riverworks, Menomonee Valley, Burleigh Street, North Avenue Gateway, ACT-Atkinson/Capitol/Teutonia, Havenwoods.
Three new Business Improvement Districts were also signed into creation today by Mayor Barrett: Riverworks II, Kinnickinnic River and North Avenue Marketplace.
North Avenue Market Place Business Improvement District (BID #32) includes commercial properties along West Fond du Lac Avenue between West Brown Street and North 27th Street and West North Avenue between North 8th Street and North 27th Street.
Kinnickinnic River Business Improvement District (BID #35), includes commercial properties along the banks of the Kinnnickinnic River bounded by the Becher Street Bridge on the south of the Kinnickinnic Avenue Bridge on the east.
Riverworks II Business Improvement District (BID #36), is bounded by North 1st Street to the west, North Pierce Street to the east, East Concordia Avenue to the south and east Keefe Street to the north.