When it comes to delivering the positive change South Milwaukee deserves, we are just getting started.
But we’ve started. And that’s a big deal, something we all can be proud of.
We will continue that momentum in 2017. We’ll build on these success from the past year …
- We began the long work of downtown redevelopment, starting with passage of the comprehensive plan update and downtown plan and our new Downtown Revitalization Grant program, and we gave out our first award. We also began studying downtown organization strategies and the Main Street program, and planning for significant Milwaukee Avenue streetscaping upgrades.
- With that foundation in place, we announced plans for our biggest downtown redevelopment project in decades, and assisted one of our biggest business expansion and renovation projects in years. We also welcomed a host of new businesses to our city center, like this and this and this and this and this. With more to come in early 2017.
- We continued to get behind our downtown events, as the South Milwaukee Downtown Market (and its weekly music lineup) continued to grow, and we brought back outdoor movies, food trucks, our Rocketober trick-or-treating and an Evening on the Avenue that was bigger than ever.
- Economic (re)development momentum extended beyond our city center, with new ownership and a major renovation for a Sunrise Plaza anchor, the addition of a terrific new Mexican restaurant, the relocation of a really cool business from Bay View, and growth for a local manufacturer and construction company.
- We set a course for a cleaner Oak Creek Watershed.
- We saw the continued rebirth of Grant Park Beach, with a terrific new concessionaire and beach volleyball leagues.
- We improved how we do business as a city, delivering a new Oak Creek IT partnership, exploring another collaboration, and investing in technology to enable future partnerships and more efficiency. We also partnered with the county on the purchase of new public safety radios and election equipment, savings thousands of dollars and driving efficiency through technology.
- We got tougher on lawbreakers.
- We welcomed Masjid Al-Huda, and they welcomed us.
- We put capital dollars toward improving our infrastructure, including reconstruction of a key artery through the city.
- We began our rebranding work, with a new visual identity in our future.
- We stepped up our communications, enhancing our city website and Facebook presence, and increasing our presence on a new social app fostering neighborhood collaboration.
And there’s plenty more.
Of course, it wasn’t all positive news in 2016, but when is it ever? We lost community servants like Rick Grobschmidt and Blaine Schultz, and Donn Powers retired. We received news of Caterpillar’s consolidation out of state. We also saw an increase in property crimes, and we need to find a way to plant and replant more trees. While we passed another responsible budget, we continue to deal with state-imposed and other constraints, shrinking revenues, rising costs and other challenges.
Still, our future remains promising, our momentum strong. We’ll deliver even more positive change in 2017, together. I hope you’re as excited to continue this journey as I am.
Happy new year, indeed.