By Nyesha Stone
The new Bucks arena is making Milwaukee the place to build, the place to renovate, and the place to bring new innovated things too. With the $10 million sponsorship from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Milwaukee’s downtown will be the home of our new streetcar “the hop.” This deal may be finalized, but it’s also in discussion to bring the streetcar into other neighborhoods.
The city of Milwaukee held two community meetings on Nov. 4 to hear the city’s input on the possible streetcars in Walker’s Point and Bronzeville neighborhood. Although no federal funding has been secured, the city finds it important to hear from the community before moving forward, according to Senior Planner at the Department of City Development and the Coordinator of Community Outreach for this project: Monica Smith.
Around one hundred community members attended the two meetings, and they weren’t shy about sharing their thoughts and concerns. The meetings began with a presentation and then community members were given a ride on the trolley to share their thoughts with City staff on what they envision for their neighborhoods.
“They hoped a streetcar would bring more neighborhood-serving retail establishments to the area, that improvements would be made to the streets to make them better for walking and biking,” said Smith. “And that there should be space for community amenities like parks.”
The purpose of this yearlong study is to create a plan that will advocate for positive commercial and residential development while respecting the wishes of the community by maintaining the neighborhood.
This study’s main funding is from a grant provided by the Federal Transit Administration to study transit-oriented development along potential transit lines, according to Smith. Additionally, the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District and Harbor District, Inc. are also partners in the study.
The City is currently working with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, a Chicago-based design firm, and local engagement firms, P3 Development Group and Abrazo Marketing. Lastly, Neighborhood and community groups are involved in sharing information about the study with residents.
This was the second of five planned public meetings, and the third set of public meetings is expected to take place in January.