I’ve said for quite a while that we need to find new and innovative ways to introduce people to South Milwaukee and let them know about all that South Milwaukee has to offer.
My contention is that when people learn more about our great city — and its safe streets, affordable housing, downtown opportunity good schools and great recreation opportunities — their perceptions of South Milwaukee will forever change.
So when you get the chance to bring thousands of visitors here, count me in.
That’s the opportunity we’re faced with this summer, as two large cycling events consider riding through South Milwaukee.
One, the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts, is a South Milwaukee regular. Its 25-mile route, the most popular of its five routes, winds through South Milwaukee every year, with an oasis stop in Grant Park. The Ride is looking to return again in 2010, bringing a couple thousand people into the park and onto the streets of our city on June 6.
An even bigger opportunity, however, is the International Cycling Classic. This is a series of more than two weeks of races in communities throughout southeastern Wisconsin, and they want to stop in South Milwaukee the next three years.
This will bring hundreds more bicyclists to our city, and, more importantly, the chance to hold a true city celebration built around cycling.
My vision is the Food, Folks and Spokes event held annually to coincide with the Kenosha stop. It’s a great family festival that is a true community event, all built around the Classic. Why not consider doing something similar in South Milwaukee?
Of course, neither event, the Cycling Classic specifically, comes free. For instance, there is a $15,000 annual “site fee” for the Classic, which is seeking to come to South Milwaukee on July 19. That money has to be found somewhere — ideally through sponsorships, and no city tax dollars.
The Miller Lite Ride and International Cycling Classic will be discussed at a joint meeting of the Public Works and Property and Finance committees at 6:15 p.m. on Monday. Click here for an agenda. I’ll keep you posted on what happens here.