(Re)Investing in Downtown South Milwaukee

I’m so excited to see progress accelerating on the rebirth of downtown South Milwaukee … and that the Bucyrus Foundation funds are being reinvested to accelerate and sustain growth.

The momentum is real.

From a city press release

In September 2021, the Bucyrus Foundation announced they would be making a generational, legacy-ensuring investment in the city it called home for nearly 120 years. A $10 million commitment was made to the City of South Milwaukee and the South Milwaukee School District over a 10-year period.

In May 2022, the City announced a partnership with Downtown Strategies for the creation of a fiveyear strategic plan for Downtown South Milwaukee to be funded by the Bucyrus Foundation.

At their meeting on November 1, 2022, the South Milwaukee Common Council approved the final plan and committed to implementing some of its policy recommendations. With Bucyrus Foundation funds, three grant programs intended to encourage commercial redevelopment, attract/retain businesses, and assist our nonprofit community will be created.

The Bucyrus Façade Improvement Grant encourages property and business owners to apply for matching grants up to $15,000 to make exterior building improvements to existing commercial storefronts.

The Bucyrus New Business Grant provides one-time assistance in the amount of $5,000 for new and existing businesses opening a new location or expanding operations in a vacant commercial space on Milwaukee Avenue between the 800 and 1300 blocks. Eligible grant expenses include commercial lease/mortgage payments, business operating expenses, and commercial building repair and tenant improvements.

The third program being established is called the Bucyrus Foundation Civic Grant. This program allows for nonprofit organizations to apply for up to $25,000 to address a community need, improve community support, solve a problem, or enrich the people of South Milwaukee.

Grant program information can now be found on the City of South Milwaukee’s website with funding available in 2023. The City’s Economic Development Office will start accepting applications in January.

Said Tim Sullivan, Bucyrus Foundation Chairman & former CEO of Bucyrus International, Inc.: “The Bucyrus Foundation is supportive of the City’s planning efforts and the findings identified by Downtown Strategies and City officials. We are pleased to know the Foundation’s investment will assist growing small businesses, worthy nonprofits, and be used to make physical improvements downtown.”

Said South Milwaukee Mayor Jim Shelenske: “With the Bucyrus Foundation’s support, a renaissance has truly begun in Downtown South Milwaukee. Thank you to the over 400 residents, visitors, and business owners who participated in our public survey process this summer. The future of the area is bright if we can all continue to work together.”

Per the plan’s recommendations, the Council also authorized adjustments to the City’s vacant property ordinance to incentivize property rehabilitation and occupancy. Additional approvals were granted for commercial façade design guidelines, a mural to be painted on the west wall of the South Milwaukee Human Concerns building at 1029 Milwaukee Avenue, and for the purchase of benches, trash and recycling bins, bike racks, and planters to be placed along Milwaukee Avenue and at the Bucyrus Commons.

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