East Side Retail Update
Anchored by time-tested local favorites like Boswell Books, the Oriental, the Downer Theatre and Glorioso's Italian Market, the retail corridors along Downer Avenue, North Avenue and Brady Street are alive with new activity and energy.
Residents can "vote with their dollars," Alderman Kovac said, by choosing to support local retailers, especially in the busy holiday season ahead. Such "buy local" efforts are already having a tangible effect, he said, as several new exciting retail developments are planned for the area. Among them:
- An established consignment shop aimed at providing exposure to fledgling local artists, the Waxwing is opening a new location in the mixed-use development at the corner of North and Oakland Avenues. Exhibiting works by more than 100 local artists, the Waxwing features art and handmade gifts made out of refurbished or recycled materials, whenever possible.
- The latest tenant to open up shop in the Overlook on Prospect (the former Prospect Mall) is Yoga Six, a yoga studio and retail chain with three studios in Chicago, one in St. Louis and four in California. Yoga Six has leased 4,500 square feet in the renovated building.
Alderman Kovac has hosted meetings over the past year to gather input from residents and business owners on all of these local main streets. To learn more:
- Click here to download the Downer Avenue Commercial Corridor Snapshot.
- Click here to download the commissioned consultant study of the North Avenue corridor.
New Stations Coming to Bublr Bikeshare
The Bublr Bikeshare system continues to break new ground in Milwaukee, with plans to bring 35 new rental kiosks online by the end of 2016—including more than a dozen on the East Side and in Riverwest.
With the help of a federal grant, the city will bring many of the stations online through its partnership with the nonprofit operator Midwest Bikeshare. And, a new partner on the project, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is helping by installing six kiosks on the north and south branches of its campus to help students and visitors get around.
Seventeen new bike stations have already come online this year, with the rest scheduled for installation by the end of 2016. Visit BublrBikes.com for more information.
Roverwest an Opportunity for Four-Legged Fun
Long the dream of dog enthusiasts in Riverwest and on the East Side, a new off-leash dog exercise area on the block bounded by E. Concordia and E. Auer Avenues, N. Bremen and N. Weil Streets has opened for business to its canine customers and their bipedal buddies.
Roverwest Dog Park is a collaboration between neighborhood residents, Milwaukee County Parks, Residents for Off-leash Milwaukee Parks, Inc. (ROMP) and Johnson Controls, Inc. The land was previously owned by Johnson Controls, and the company donated it to the county for use as a dog park and even conducted environmental remediation in order to clean up pollution on the site.
"The neighbors in north Riverwest have asked for this dog park for years, and we all should thank the county for acquiring the land and making this dog-lovers’ dream come true," Alderman Kovac said.
The green space is now fully surrounded by a six-foot fence, allowing dogs to play off-leash. Entrances on Weil and Bremen feature double-gates to ensure the safety of the dogs while transitioning from on-leash outside the park to off-leash inside. A Dog Exercise Area (DEA) permit is required for any dog to be allowed in the park. The license is $25 for one dog, and $10 for each additional dog. Residents are required to clean up their dog’s waste, and must supervise their animal to ensure it is interacting well with others.
Visit county.milwaukee.gov/Dogs9203.htm for more information.
Winter parking regulations in effect through March 1
Winter parking regulations for much of the East Side are intended to ease the burden on residents who leave their cars in the street, while still enabling city crews to clean up after snow storms.
If you live in the "Five-Day Exception Parking Area" that includes much of the East Side, you may continue to park overnight on both sides of the street unless the city announces that a snow-plow or other public works operation will be conducted overnight. When this announcement is made, residents must move their vehicles immediately to the correct side of the street—the odd-numbered side of the street on an odd-numbered day (before midnight) or the even-numbered side of the street on an even-numbered day (before midnight)—for legal overnight parking.
The Department of Public Works will send a notice to media outlets with the announcement, but residents are also encouraged to sign up to receive a Snow Mobile Winter Text Alert message. Subscribers will receive a text message on their cell phone alerting them that a DPW operation has been announced and that all vehicles must be moved to the correct side of the street. Those who prefer an email message can select that option instead.
While Alderman Kovac recommends residents sign up for reminders, he offers a mnemonic device to describe the new rules: "When there’s new snow on the ground, move your car around. If you can see the curb, you won’t be disturbed."
Most residential side streets outside the exception area require alternate side parking every night, and posted parking signs take precedence on individual streets. Anyone with questions can call (414) 286-CITY for help—and remember, you need a valid overnight parking permit to park on the street.
New app connects kids to after-school activities
Milwaukee young people now have more than 200 after-school programs and services at their fingertips, thanks to a new app developed by Beyond the Bell Milwaukee. The app is a direct response to a 2013 survey of more than 1,000 Milwaukee young people that found "lack of program awareness" as the number one barrier to after-school engagement. Teens, parents and community members can download the app on Apple and Android by visiting beyondthebellmke.org.
Beyond the Bell is a coalition of youth-serving agencies, funders, policymakers and young people who work to ensure access to quality after-school and summer opportunities.
City accepting STRONG Homes Loan Program applications
Milwaukee homeowners looking to tap into $1 million in partially-forgivable loans to fund essential home repairs can apply for the STRONG Homes Loan program. Under the program, owner-occupants can apply for loans of up to $20,000 to pay for emergency repairs, essential rehabilitation and code correction orders, with loan interest rates between zero and three percent. Eligible projects include roof replacement, replacement of failing porches and the repair or replacement of deteriorating siding or failing exterior paint.
Qualifying households must have an income at or below 120 percent of the area median ($84,360 for a family of four). 25 percent of the loan amount will be forgiven if the owner stays in the home for 10 years. Information and applications are available at milwaukee.gov/STRONGloan.
Worried about foreclosure because you haven't paid your property taxes?
Read about how you can prevent foreclosure on your home and improve your financial situation as well in this flyer that was included in the recent tax bill mailing.
Virtual Night Parking Permit System
For the convenience of the city’s night parking permit customers, there is no longer a requirement to display a physical permit. When residents buy a night parking permit, they will complete the same application, accurately listing the applicable license plate number. Residents will receive a confirmation number to prove purchase of the permit, but will not receive a physical permit to place on the vehicle’s window.
The license plate number will be used by parking enforcement to determine whether the owner has purchased a valid permit. All customer service problems arising from misplaced or stolen permits will be eliminated. Failure to purchase a permit will still be subject to a $20 citation.
When a resident purchases a permit online, the cost savings derived from the elimination of permit production, handling and mailing costs will be passed on to customers. The convenience fee will be reduced from the current $2.25 to $1.00.
Visit www.milwaukee.gov/parking to purchase a night permit online and avoid the hassle of standing in line to pay in-person. Please call 286-CITY (2489) with any questions.
Alderman Kovac in the Media
Joel Van Haren of WUWM's Lake Effect produced this interview with Milwaukee 3rd district Alderman Nik Kovac on East Newberry Boulevard. The boulevard between Lake and Riverside parks was named one of the “10 Great Streets for 2009” by the American Planning Association.