The plan is on the table. Now what will we do with it?
More than 30 people attended the downtown plan presentation by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate students before Tuesday’s City Council meeting, and they saw what I believe to be a thoughtful, reasonable, attainable and, most of all, creative plan for revitalizing our city center.
Check out the full plan here.
I will have a more detailed post on elements of this plan in coming days, as I sift through the 81 pages in more detail.
I ask you to give it a good read as well … and let me know what you think.
Post your comments below!
As I’ve writen about, a graduate class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning has made revitalizing downtown South Milwaukee one of its projects for the semester.
Well, the semester is over, and the plan is complete.
Check it out for yourself at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, when the presentation begins. (We have started the City Council meeting a half hour early to allow extra time to hear the students’ perspective and proposals.)
I had a chance to view the presentation to their class last week, and I came away very impressed. It truly delivers some fresh thinking and new perspectives that we need to kick-start the debate over the future of our city center.
Join us, and let me know what you think!
Consider the conversation started. I hope it continues.
I joined more than 30 others who attended the downtown South Milwaukee charrette today, and I came away impressed with all of the work the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate students have already put into studying our struggling city center.
And I was even more impressed at how engaged those who stopped by the South Milwaukee Public Library were on this issue.
There was a lot of great, thought-provoking discussion on both what is ailing our downtown and potential solutions Saturday. From streetscaping to business improvement districts to facade improvements to other issues, the UWM students heard all about the areas that will be at the center of this hopefully ongoing debate.
Did you go? If so, I’d like to know what you thought. And, even if you didn’t attend, I’d like to know your thoughts on the task ahead here — for these UWM students and others who will hopefully pick up the torch when the work of this class is done.
Post your comments below!
What’s your vision for downtown South Milwaukee?
Share it on Saturday, April 16, as a group of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate students studying our downtown hold a planning charrette from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the South Milwaukee Public Library.
Learn more in this flier.
What is a charrette? It’s an intensive planning session where citizens collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback as the design is formulated. More importantly, everyone who participates is a mutual author of the plan.
At the upcoming event, stations will be set up to receive community input on topics such as:
- Streetscape and façade improvements;
- Vacancy and parcel redevelopment;
- Community branding and connectivity; and
- Downtown character and sign codes.
The students will later compile the results and develop recommendations to help South Milwaukee achieve the vision identified during the charrette session.
Feel free to stop by anytime during the session and be a part of the plan. I hope to see you there!
Now, more than ever, we need new ideas for our struggling downtown. I’m hoping a group of graduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s respected School of Architecture and Urban Planning will help deliver some.
A study of downtown South Milwaukee is one of several projects that the Applied Planning Workshop is focusing on this semester, and I’m happy to have them bringing some fresh eyes and fresh perspectives to this issue.
Economic Development Director Danielle Devlin deserves credit for helping make this happen and coordinating with the group. I also joined Danielle in making an introductory presentation about South Milwaukee at a recent class, where we also had chance to meet the students on the project and see first-hand their genuine interest in delivering some creative thinking here.
Danielle is asking that the work of the students include:
- Mapping analysis of current land uses, parking, vacant buildings, land values and zoning impacts;
- A review of current zoning and development policies;
- A design preference survey or other tool to gather input about desired uses and character;
- Sign code updates;
- Identification of redevelopment sites and potential strategies for marketing, programming, funding and phasing of projects; and
- Recommended sustainable development and planning strategies.
For now, the students are still gathering information through interviews and other efforts, and they expect to make a presentation before city officials in May. I look forward to the results, and I hope their report is the start of what will be an ongoing discussion about a collective vision for our city center.
We need a plan for downtown South Milwaukee, something the community can rally around and then work on together to make a reality. We lack that now, and you can see the result: too many vacant storefronts, too little urgency and too much apathy.