Downtown momentum continues, with our newest restaurant, Grillworks, planning an opening for March.
The Orens have already made significant investments to upgrade to the former Nona’s and Grebe’s building on 10th Avenue, and they plan to open the restaurant and bar in March. They will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a Friday fish fry, prime rib and a Sunday brunch buffet.
Also, a big thanks to our Street Department for taking away the snowbanks along Milwaukee Avenue on Friday. It’s not something we’ve often done, but I hope we can do it more going forward. I’m happy to get behind efforts like this to help local businesses. (Thanks to Leah from Parkway Floral for the photo.)
Here is one more reason to be a part of Saturday’s downtown trick-or-treating event: Along the way, you will have a chance to help shape the future of our city.
Graef Consulting is holding its second open house/public feedback session from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at 924 Milwaukee Ave., the storefront located directly east of Sorce Martial Arts. Stop in and share your input and learn more about the comprehensive plan under development. Displays will include:
- Opportunity area development scenarios;
- Boards with visual / design precedents;
- A photo montage of a concept for the public space at the southeast corner of Milwaukee and 10th Avenues;
- Recommendations for downtown;
- A synthesis of feedback from the first open house this summer at the Downtown Market;
- Blank maps for further feedback (neighborhoods/districts/corridors, opportunity areas, and a large aerial map); and
- “What I Want For South Milwaukee” stickers to provide feedback and comment forms.
There will also be a coloring station for children and candy (of course). The PBS “Around the Corner” episode on South Milwaukee will also be shown during the open house.
Be sure to take a break from trick-or-treating and be a part of this activity. Your feedback is critical as we continue our work in planning South Milwaukee’s promising future!
Update: Here is a list of participating restaurants for the first “Dinner and a Movie”: Azteca, China Chef, Barbiere’s, Muskie’s Gourmet House and MKE City Sippers. Be sure to patronize these local businesses!
Thanks again to Guardian Credit Union for stepping up to sponsor three outdoor movies downtown again this summer.
They’ve announced the movies they’ll be showing … and we’ve added a twist. We’re now calling the event being held on the three Fridays in June, July and August “Dinner and a Movie,” and we’re bringing local restaurants into the fold.
It’s easy: Take advantage of movie-night specials at a number of local eateries prior to the outdoor movies, and then swing by the farmers’ market site on 11th and Madison for the flicks.
This way, you can support a local business and enjoy a great downtown event, too. Sounds like a date night!
Check out the movie schedule in the image and in this flyer.
The early list of participating restaurants includes Azteca, China Chef, Barbiere’s and Nona’s Café. Look for a full list at http://www.guardiancu.org as the event approaches.
And a special thanks to Heidi Bontempo from Guardian and Joey Bukowski for their continued work on planning this fun event. This could not happen without them.
Updated on April 22 to add the Downtown History Walk. Updated on April 21 with sponsors for the market concerts and the correct date for the Heritage Days Parade.
There’s a lot happening in our city center this summer and fall. A lot. So, we figured, why not round it up?
It starts with the first weekend of May, with the South Milwaukee Little League Parade on Saturday, May 2, and the first-ever Food Truck Festival the next day, and continues with a summer of shopping, music, outdoor movies and more.
Yes, we’re bringing new life downtown. This flyer is proof.
Think summer. Think blankets and lawn chairs spread out on the grass, the smell of popcorn in the air, a family-friendly movie playing on the big screen.
Now, mark your calendars for three Friday nights this summer, as Guardian Credit Union brings back outdoor movies downtown. The dates are June 19, July 17 and August 21. Movies will be held at the farmers’ market site on 11th and Madison.
I’m excited to see these return, and thank Guardian for their continued partnership in what is turning into a really cool community event. Stay tuned for more details, including word on what movies will be showing.
In other downtown news …
- Some good news on the business front … The Revolution is here, as downtown South Milwaukee’s newest business – The Revolution Hair Studio – is now open at 1017 Milwaukee Ave. Let’s welcome Bonnie and Joy to town! … Also, progress is being made on the new collectibles and old-time candy store planned for the east end of Milwaukee. Wrote owner Troy Kinunen: The New Vintage Candy, Toy, and Historic Military Collectables store located at 723 Milwaukee Ave. is on pace to open April 1st. We have completed the demolition, all framing is complete, and we are starting on the second level once weather permits. Plumbing, Electrical, and Heating & Air is also being currently installed. I can’t wait for this one to open.
- And some good news on our broader initiatives … We are wrapping up selection of members for the new Downtown Advisory Committee, and I expect to have nominees before the South Milwaukee Common Council for their approval for the Jan. 20 meeting. This group will play a key role in advising the Plan Commission and City Council around downtown issues, and in developing a downtown plan. We are also hiring a consultant to aid in that planning effort (and in an update to overall comprehensive plan).
- And some disappointing news … The Animal Hospital of South Milwaukee, 920 Milwaukee Ave., has moved to Oak Creek, according to its website. Similarly, Shannon Wucherer’s photo studio down the block has also moved, to Walker’s Point.
So, overall, continued strong progress. Not perfect, but I’ll take it … with much more to come.
Economic development in South Milwaukee took two big steps forward Tuesday, with the City Council backing two key measures.
First, the council approved the hiring of an economic development coordinator for 2015. This 20-hour-per-week position will be a single point of contact when it comes to attracting and retaining business in South Milwaukee.
Marketing, relationship building, connecting business owners with assistance programs, ensuring proper procedures are being followed for opening a new business, coordinating our downtown efforts … all of these duties and more will be the responsibility of this critical new hire.
We’ll be posting the description soon. Stay tuned.
The council also approved the formation of a downtown advisory committee — another key part of our work in revitalizing our city center. This will be a nine-person committee that advises the Plan Commission and ultimately the council on issues related to downtown. It will be a key player in developing the downtown plan we’ll be embarking on in early 2015, but also regularly surface other ideas and issues related to our central business district.
The voice of business will be key here — the committee will include at least four downtown business/property owners, by design. There will also be four at-large members … and they’ll be asked to apply to be part of this group. It will be a brief application, but doing it this way will allow us to find people with the passion and skills necessary to lead this important effort. Stay tuned.
Here is the description of the committee.
Thanks for your continued support as we continue to drive economic development in South Milwaukee. I hope you’re as excited as I am about the progress we’re making.
We have a lot of work to do downtown, and we will do it. We will come together as a community around a plan for our city center — and then commit to work that plan. We will start that process soon.
One thing we can do right away: Be more proactive in enforcing our existing property codes. And that’s what we’re doing.
In my first weeks as mayor, I’ve asked that the city be more out front in ordering downtown property owners to make much-needed improvements to their facades … simply getting them to comply with our property maintenance ordinances.
Broken, cracked or clouded windows. Peeling paint. Dilapidated signs advertising businesses that haven’t operated in years. Those are just some of the issues with select (too many) downtown properties.
So, our property code enforcer is being more aggressive in “writing up” more buildings in our central business district, not waiting for complaints before sending notices to owners mandating that they get their buildings to code — and hopefully more than that, perhaps using our underutilized facade grant program.
This brings me to the photo above. Thursday, I, our code enforcer and city engineer made the first of several downtown walks, discussing problem properties and pointing out issues. We started at 13th and Milwaukee and walked east to 10th and back again. Next up, Milwaukee Avenue east of 10th, then 10th Avenue north and south.
I’m sure I’ll learn a lot as I go … and hopefully this will make a difference in improving the look of our downtown, one building at a time, as we plot a long-term strategy.
Indeed, we’re just getting started!
Update: Just heard from Hometown Sports Cards, and they are still at 916 Milwaukee Ave., just now at the back of the building.
Unfortunately, more goings than comings …
Kelly Driving School has closed its location at 723 Milwaukee Ave. — it looked completely empty when I drove by today — and will now hold classes at South Milwaukee High School. Learn more at the Kelly website.
As for new businesses, it looks like a new pet supplies and food store is coming to downtown. Zen Pets South Milwaukee has a sign in the window at 913 Milwaukee Ave. advertising dog, cat, bird, and small animal food and supplies. It also advertises a “mindful holistic happiness center … a place for inner peace and wellbeing.” Not sure what that means.
The store, located next to Dowling Community Acupuncture, is expected to open in August. Learn more on its Facebook page.
Not sure if it’s related to Zen Computer Center a few doors down …
Of course, Spirits is also expected to reopen soon.
Update: I Can’t Resist comes from Cudahy, where it opened in 2012.
Downtown South Milwaukee has a new retailer.
I Can’t Resist Kids Resale has opened in the former home of Ooh La La Beauty Boutique, which closed recently.
Learn more about the new store on its website, and welcome to South Milwaukee!
I had the pleasure of attending on Friday the opening of the newest downtown South Milwaukee business, and I came away impressed.
Impressed because this is unlike any business now in our city center … and maybe unlike any business Milwaukee Avenue has ever seen. Impressed because this business decided to take a chance on opening in our fair city vs. what were surely trendier options. Impressed because its strorefront is simply beautiful, with its hardwood floors, cream brick and huge picture windows. Impressed because its owners seem committed to becoming active in their community.
And impressed, of course, with the unique and beautiful works of art that fill its space.
Yes, welcome to South Milwaukee, Studio 915.
The city’s new art gallery and studio could be a downtown game changer.
Here its mission statement: “Studio 915 is committed to showcasing the talent of new and aspiring Artists. We also offer a diverse range of classes and workshops designed to promote passion and awareness within the art community and beyond. We are committed to the development and advancement of the Artists we represent. Studio 915 promotes growth and wellness through a love and appreciation of the arts.”
It’s a grand mission — one that I’m excited to see come to life in downtown South Milwaukee.
Learn more about Studio 915 at its under-construction website, and be sure to stop by 915 Milwaukee Ave. and see for yourself what I’m talking about. They’ll also be at the Dec. 3 and 10 South Milwaukee Christmas Markets at Caterpillar.