Category Archives: South Milwaukee

Downtown Art: Serendipitous Designs to Unveil Mural on July 29


Here is a great way to end Heritage Days …

Add this to your calendar, and celebrate the latest investment in downtown South Milwaukee, through public art.

From Jamie at Serendipitous Designs & Gifts

Come celebrate the addition of our new mural by artist David Melvin! Light refreshments will be available, and look for tons of sales! Blues Addiction will be playing from 6-8 at this event! Great band- you won’t want to miss them!!

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Help Wanted: Library Friends


Your South Milwaukee Library needs new Friends!

Interested? Mark your calendars now and attend an informal gathering to help start an exciting, new Friends of the SML from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, at the library, 1907 10th Ave.

Please consider stepping up to support and advocate for this community institution and its vital mission.

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Curb Appeal Awards: Submit Your Entries Now!

With the new Curb Appeal awards, the South Milwaukee Beautification Committee is looking to award South Milwaukee businesses, homeowners and civic organizations who devote extra effort to their property’s beautification, through landscaping and other street-facing efforts.

Judging criteria include utilization of color, appropriateness of architecture of the structure, originality, lawn upkeep, and decorative exterior structures. Properties also will be judged on the overall exterior appearance of their buildings.

Judging will be occur in early August, so get your nominations in!

We are accepting nominations on our Facebook page or on our online form.

Multiple entries are welcome.

More details on our city awards program here, including the new Rocketober awards this fall and the return of the Light Up South Milwaukee holiday lights awards.

Note: We decided to not hand out Patriotic Display awards, due to lack of entries. The Beautification Committee will discuss potential modifications to the program, or not continuing it, at its meeting on Monday night. 

We handed our Garden Tour “Best of Tour” award earlier this week.

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South Milwaukee Common Council Approves New Bucyrus, Downtown TID

As the sale of a large part of the former Bucyrus campus draws nearer, we continue to take real actions to enable redevelopment of the property, and other challenging parcels in and around our downtown.

The latest example: The South Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday approved the boundaries and project plan for Tax Incremental District No. 5, and making TID 2 a “donor TID” to potentially provide early funding for the new downtown district.

From the Milwaukee Business Journal

South Milwaukee elected officials approved a $5.7 million city funding plan to help a New York investor redevelop the campus that Caterpillar Inc. is vacating and to encourage other companies to revitalize surrounding properties.

The spending through a tax incremental financing, or TIF, district would promote an area in the heart of the community to businesses, rebuild infrastructure and potentially offer incentives to developers. Most of the properties where city officials want to encourage private investment are along Milwaukee and 10th avenues. 

The largest property in the redevelopment plan is 29 acres north of Milwaukee Avenue. That campus was the home of Bucyrus stretching back to the late 1800s. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) has operated there since acquiring Bucyrus International Inc. in 2011, but the manufacturer announced it will be out by the end of this year. Those office and production operations are moving to land Caterpillar owns north of Rawson Avenue in South Milwaukee, and to other locations, including Tucson, Ariz.

Caterpillar’s move prompted planning by the city to support redevelopment of the approximately 750,000 square feet of office and industrial buildings on the former Bucyrus campus. During that effort, New York real estate investor Reich Brothers LLC emerged to buy the property. Reich Brothers has not detailed its plans.

“We’ve got to get this right, and we’ve got to be partners in getting this right,” said South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks “It’s the heart of our city. Our city grew around this campus and around Milwaukee Avenue. It’s a top priority for me.”

The city TIF plan endorsed this week offers between $560,000 and $2.17 million to redevelop the Bucyrus campus. That includes $205,000 in grants the city has already raised, or would apply for.

Reich Brothers is expected to buy the South Milwaukee property this month. It currently belongs to One Liberty Partners Inc. of New York state, which has leased it to Caterpillar. … There’s also money in the TIF district for nearby properties that have redevelopment potential. Those include the former Bucyrus Erie employees club building on 12th Street, properties at 1010 and 1012 Milwaukee Avenue and properties on 10th Avenue.

The TIF plan was approved by the Common Council on Tuesday. Before becoming official, the TIF district requires final approvals during a July 24 meeting of a Joint Review Board comprised of representatives of other local taxing districts, including Milwaukee County and the South Milwaukee School District.

That TIF district would pay off the planned city spending with property taxes generated by new development in the area. The TIF plan predicts $24.1 million in new developments between 2019 and 2034.

More details in my previous post on this … and much more to come as start redeveloping the campus and continue our work on Milwaukee Avenue and beyond.


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Check out these South Milwaukee headlines …

Also, the South Milwaukee Police Department has published its weekly crime summary on its Facebook page.

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SM Works: City Unveils New App and Online Issue Reporting System


We owe it to our residents to invest in ways to do business more efficiently and effectively — and become easier to do business with.

That is why we are proud to unveil SM Works, a new communication platform that serves as a gateway to information about South Milwaukee, quickly connecting residents and others with city services and the people who provide them.

  • You can access SM Works via an app available for download now on the Apple Store and Google Play.
  • You can also access it online here (linked from the left column of the front page of the City of South Milwaukee website).

I especially encourage you to download the app, if you own a smartphone.

So, what does SM Works do?

The biggest early win for residents is the tool’s complaint reporting capabilities. The platform (especially through the app) allows residents to more easily share issues and concerns with the city, and to view, comment on, and vote to fix problems submitted by their neighbors.

The reporting feature allows users to submit a complaint with a few clicks, from snapping a photo of the problem (a pothole, for instance), confirming the GPS location on their phone, and adding a comment before hitting “submit.” They can then track the progress of their complaint, as city workers address it.

Citizens can also create their own “watch areas” to receive notifications about issues reported around town, enabling them to follow the progress of all service requests,  not just the ones they report.

The app also provides a one-click access to other city information and other resources. For example, it provides contact information, access to the municipal code and “frequently asked questions,” and a link to the city’s events and Facebook pages.

The app also allows to push information to those who sign up, something that could be especially useful in times of emergency, and in communicating issues like road construction updates and promoting events.

This is also a win inside City Hall.

SM Works provides staff and elected officials a more streamlined and efficient workflow in handling and tracking complaints and other issues raised by residents. Gone are the days of Post-it Notes, voicemails, emails and spreadsheets to track and respond to complaints — an often hodge-podge process that can delay response time and occasionally see complaints fall through the cracks. They will be replaced by an automated system that allows departments to instantaneously connect on issues to ensure the right people are responding to issues at the right time, and there is appropriate follow-up and resolution.

In other words, this should improve our customer service.

The system also gives us real-time data to track issue trends, helping us make more informed decisions in addressing problems big and small across the city.

SM Works is part of the SeeClickFix platform, which is used by more than 300 communities across the country to “build stronger communities through transparency, collaboration, and efficiency,” according to its website. “We provide simple yet powerful request and work management technology for local governments.”

I’m proud to say South Milwaukee is now one of them.


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Beautification Committee “Best of Tour” Award: Congratulations, Brad McKendry!

Congratulations to Brad McKendry, winner of the 2018 South Milwaukee Beautification Committee Garden Tour “Best of Tour” Award!

Members of the committee and South Milwaukee Historical Society recognized Brad at a ceremony Monday night in his beautiful garden at 612 Walnut Ave.


We also congratulated our Honorable Mention award winners — the Frederick garden at 1000 Emerson and the Griffith garden at 301 Lakeview Road — and all of the Tour participants for displaying some terrific gardens this year.

The proclamation I presented said it best …



WHEREAS, the South Milwaukee Historical Society held its 10th annual Garden Tour & Art Fair on June 23, 2018, with five local homeowners showcasing their gardens;

WHEREAS, the event also featured an artisan fair, food, demonstrations and music at the South Milwaukee Historical Society; and

WHEREAS, the Garden Tour is a great way to celebrate South Milwaukee’s best outdoor spaces and support the South Milwaukee Historical Society; and

WHEREAS, each participant in the tour had truly outstanding gardens worthy of recognition;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Mayor Erik Brooks, on behalf of the South Milwaukee Beautification Committee, do hereby award the Grand Prize award to Brad McKendry, 612 Walnut Street, whose English-style garden includes a gazebo, chalet, and koi ponds, and can be enjoyed while strolling along a flagstone path. The garden was initially designed by his late wife, Peggy, and is maintained as a tribute to her.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that I, Mayor Erik Brooks, the Beautification Committee and the entire South Milwaukee Common Council do hereby extend our congratulations to Brad McKendry on his beautiful garden display, thank all of the homeowners who were part of this year’s tour, and offer our sincere appreciation to all of the volunteers who made the 2018 event a success.

In addition to the proclamation, Brad received items from the Historical Society and more than $400 in collections for the Dementia Society of America, in honor of his late wife. What a special and beautiful tribute.

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