Planning For The City’s, And Downtown’s, Promising Future

With a renewed focus on business retention, recruitment, events, marketing and other efforts, we’re working hard every day to bring new life to our city, and city center.

We’re also building the foundation for long-term economic development success. A key part of that: our comprehensive and downtown plans, which took major steps forward this week.

The South Milwaukee City Council voted unanimously to approve the selection of Graef as the consulting firm for updating our comprehensive plan and building a separate downtown plan.

We interviewed two firms for the work, and, as part of the committee making the recommendation, I can say it was a very tough call. Both Vandewalle and Graef are terrific firms that would do a great job on these plans.

Graef brings strong experience, creativity, vision and a demonstrated commitment to implementing the plans they lead. For this effort, they also bring a partnership with Business Districts Inc., a firm focused on downtown revitalization that will only add to our plan and process.

You can see their joint proposal here.

Now the work begins. The planning effort will pick up quickly, and be substantially wrapped up by the end of the year. Then we get to work on bringing the plan to life – not letting it sit on a shelf and collect dust like so many others in the past.

Have a plan, work the plan. We will work this plan.

My ask: Look for ways to be part of the process, and actually be a part of it. There will be plenty of opportunities to have your voice heard as we build this roadmap for the future of South Milwaukee and our downtown.

Join us!


Filed under Downtown, South Milwaukee

3 responses to “Planning For The City’s, And Downtown’s, Promising Future

  1. Frank

    Erik, it would be nice to get a group together and public reading of the 71 page report. I belief our City of South Milwaukee CDA people would give a great deal of insight into what it is saying.

  2. Mary Bauhs

    My name is Mary Bauhs. I have met you – I tend bar at Moran’s pub. I was wondering – since the food trucks were such a hit – if it would be possible to have them during Heritage Days? Maybe on the Thursday of Evening on the Ave. Maybe you could it extend it a few blocks to include more businesses and have the trucks scattered along the way. Just a thought. Thanks for all you are doing for the city. Mary Bauhs

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Bonnee Lugauer

    Dear Mayor,

    I have read through Graef’s proposal material several times. The document is a pretty one but with several pages of duplicate information.

    I have not read every page in detail but important areas of concern did not leap at me—particularly topics related to the condition of downtown buildings. I see nothing in the proposal which addresses ADA—American With Disabilities Act accommodations. I see nothing about the building codes, such as electrical, construction, insulation and air quality. My guess is that many downtown buildings have standing water in their basements with resulting mold and other concerns. My guess is that many downtown buildings have leaky pipes, lead pipes, lead paint, asbestos insulation, jerry rigged electrical wiring, and other code violations which makes the buildings a bad investment for would-be businesses. My guess is that some buildings—built before the dependency on electricity– have only one outlet per room. I would not be surprised is some buildings still have coal and coal dust stashes. I know our building did when we purchased it in 1975. I don’t see anything in the Graef report that addresses these concerns—or that addresses the need to have building construction which is suited to today’s business technology requirements.

    Perhaps the topics I have mentioned are listed under the Graef headings of “assessing obsolete commercial space.” Yet these specific concerns are not identified in their proposal material.

    I see mention of grants for building facades—a tactic attempted 20 years ago with minimal success. I see mention of streetscaping and re-design of parking—also “ been there, done that” topics that seem have had little long lasting positive impact.

    I don’t intend to be only negative. Many aspects of the Graef proposal materials are impressive: the collaboration with city officials and residents; exploring tax and grant sources; the projects accomplished in other communities are all encouraging. The proposal is a wonderful start. I’m rooting for South Milwaukee.

    Just wanted to offer my initial “take.”

    Bonnee Beth (Lugauer)

    ps I attempted to respond via the Comment button at the end of your post. I received this page.

    Not Found Apologies, but the page you requested could not be found. Perhaps searching will help.

    Search for:


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