Residents who live in the Bronzeville and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods will soon have the opportunity to buy a vacant lot for $1 or rent a new home to later own, under two housing initiatives Mayor Barrett launched today. Both initiatives include funding for current homeowners to renovate their homes as well, to boost neighborhood pride and strengthen community-building efforts.
“Owning a home is the starting point for families to build prosperity-- these two initiatives will put the American dream within reach of residents who may think they’ll never own a home,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “We’re using the city’s limited resources and working with partners to grow opportunities and strengthen neighborhoods. Our plan offers the message of hope to the Metcalfe Park and Bronzeville neighborhoods.”
Bronzeville: The Neighborhood Development Project
Bronzeville is a redevelopment project to create an African-American cultural and entertainment district along W. North Avenue, between 7th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The Bronzeville District will impact the economic health of an older commercial district and surrounding residential neighborhoods, create investment and employment opportunities for the community, augment the City’s tourism goals, and celebrate racial diversity.
The Bronzeville neighborhood is traditionally an historic African American community. Many of the homes were built prior to turn of century near strong, vital residential neighborhoods such as Halyard Park, and Brewer’s Hill. The Bronzeville neighborhood project will provide affordable homeownership opportunities to new homeowners as well as offer grants to current homeowners to make repairs to their homes.
The City of Milwaukee will sell 23 vacant lots in the Bronzeville neighborhood for $1 for construction of single-family homes. Residents in the neighborhood will have the first option to buy. Up to ten lots will be made available to Northcott Neighborhood House and the Inner City Redevelopment Corporation for construction of homes for low to moderate-income families.
The Bronzeville Beechie Brooks Targeted Investment Neighborhood (TIN) Program
The City of Milwaukee’s Targeted Investment Neighborhood Program is a revitalization strategy in which resources are focused in a designated area. The TIN approach concentrates not only investment, it concentrates city services to reduce crime, clean up litter and compel landlords to fix up their properties. The program works with in partnership with a neighborhood community organization to stabilize and increase owner-occupancy, strengthen property values and improve the physical appearance of a neighborhood. The goal of the TIN program is to reverse trends of disinvestment by improving the physical and social infrastructure of a neighborhood, improving its desirability as a place to live and do business in.
The neighborhood surrounding Bronzeville is designated as a TIN district and is named after Beechie Brooks, an urban pioneer and advocate for central city development.
Boundaries: I-43 to the west, N. King Drive to the east, W. Center St. to the north and W. Garfield Ave to the south.
Specific Investment Offered In the Beechie Brooks TIN:
- Home rehabilitation grants up to $10,000 will be made to property owners in the area who qualify. Money is used to fix up properties.
- First-time homebuyers who live in the Bronzeville area can seek assistance to purchase in the neighborhood.
A community will be held in the near future to offer additional details on how to take advantage of these resources.
Metcalfe Park Neighborhood Project
The City of Milwaukee used its economic development tool, Tax Incremental Financing, and several vacant lots to launch a pilot housing project in the Metcalfe Park neighborhood. Under the plan, 30 rent-to-own single-family homes will be built in an area between W. Meinecke Ave and W. Center St, from N. 27th Street to N. 39th Street. The City’s $1.5 million Tax Incremental Financing District will support the $5.5 million project by developer Gorman & Company and offer current residents grants to make repairs to their homes.
The ‘rent-to-own’ homes are a first for Milwaukee. The single-family homes will be leased to families for $675 to $825 a month. The families who keep up the homes and pay their rents on time will have the option to purchase the homes after fifteen years.
Grants of up to $10,000 will be made available to current Metcalfe Park residents for necessary home repairs.
The Metcalfe Park Neighborhood project builds upon recent developments in the area. The City of Milwaukee has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to create the Todd Wehr Metcalfe Park Community Center, a combination school and Boys and Girls Club at 35th Street and North Avenue. A new Jewel-Osco grocery store opened around the corner and several mixed-use projects have followed in the ‘Gateway District’ on North Avenue including Columbia Square, Touissant Square and the New Covenant Gateway project.
Similar signs of encouragement are also occurring in the residential neighborhood. The Next Door Foundation recently completed a $9.3 million expansion of its facilities at 29th and Wright, to create a state of the art early childhood education center. Habitat for Humanity has sparked residential development efforts in the neighborhood through the construction of new single-family homes, including 10 new homes during a one-week building blitz. A development partnership between the Milwaukee Urban League and Gorman & Company is in the process of redeveloping the former Urban League headquarters building located at 28th & Wright into a high-quality elderly housing development containing 80 affordable housing units.