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Mayor Barrett Highlights Neighborhood Revitalization Effort

September 14, 2016

Mayor Tom Barrett praised the efforts of Northcott Neighborhood House as their neighborhood revitalization initiative, Milwaukee Builds, conducted a deconstruction demonstration highlighting job training, workforce utilization and reuse methods associated with deconstruction. Milwaukee Builds receives Community Development Block Grant funding from the City of Milwaukee.

The benefits of job creation, training and paths for advancement that come with this program are part of the Mayor’s efforts in strengthening the Sherman Park neighborhood and helping residents in this area launch lifelong careers.

City deconstruction projects mitigate blight by removing vacant and debilitated housing while withholding reusable materials from landfills.

“Instead of allowing usable resources to sit in a landfill, we are repurposing and salvaging parts of vacant homes for reuse while providing job opportunities for residents,” Mayor Barrett said. “I want individuals to have jobs where they can support their families. By putting people to work, we are making our neighborhoods stronger and the City’s future brighter.”

In 2015, the City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) deconstructed 16 homes as part of its blight-reduction efforts. Five of those homes were City-owned properties that were deconstructed through a partnership between DNS and nonprofit organizations.

DNS’s current deconstruction contract contains a 40% Residential Preference Program (RPP) requirement – ensuring the maximization of employment opportunities for Milwaukee residents, particularly those who are unemployed or underemployed. Nonprofit organizations like Northcott Neighborhood House provide partnerships for deconstruction projects though its job training and housing rehab programs.

Crewmembers are paid and receive certificate trainings in asbestos, lead safe renovator, hazardous materials and other specialties. Workers trained through Northcott Neighborhood House are often hired for other deconstruction projects so they are able to work for the entire construction season, rather than shorter periods of time.

Last year, City deconstruction workers logged more than 9,000 hours of labor at approximately 500 hours per project. The 153 positions available for RPP workers on all deconstructions were frequently filled by the same individuals as they worked throughout the construction season. This resulted in reliable employment and significant career skill development for crewmembers.

Deconstruction is often more environmentally-friendly than demolition. The process of deconstruction consists of the deliberate dismantling of a structure in order to maximize the salvage rate of building components for the highest possible rates of reuse and recycling.

Growing the local economy by creating jobs and making lower-cost building materials available is another goal of deconstruction.

DNS chooses the condemned homes that are ideal candidates for deconstruction and engages in a bidding process to find the best fit for the project to ensure that all contractors hire an appropriate amount of area workers. 

By leveraging the assets and resources already available in neighborhoods, the City of Milwaukee is improving the safety and health of local communities.

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