Funds will support renovation of vacant building into comprehensive community center inclusive of space for nonprofit health and wellness service providers, and access to nutritious food and workforce training opportunities
By Milwaukee Courier Staff
On May 11, Governor Tony Evers joined local leaders on Milwaukee’s Near West Side to announce that he intends to invest $5 million from the State of Wisconsin in a project to transform a vacant building at 2724 W. Wells Street into a comprehensive community center to be known as Concordia 27. The State intends to invest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds with Near West Side Partners to leverage an additional $5 million in private investment and enable construction work to move forward on the $16 million project, spearheaded by local residents and being managed by Near West Side Partners, Wiegand Enterprises, and Quorum Architects.
“Whether it’s financial security, affordable childcare, healthcare, and housing, or access to reliable transportation, so many factors play a critical role in the success of our kids, our families, and our state, and that’s why a space like Concordia 27 is such an important asset,” said Gov. Evers. “I am proud to announce we are partnering with Near West Side Partners and investing $5 million dollars to support this important project and see it over the finish line. By serving as a centralized hub of collaboration, innovation, and service, Concordia 27 is both uplifting the local business community and increasing the level of services available to individuals throughout the Near West Side and beyond. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about connecting the dots, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact Concordia 27 will have for the nearly 40,000 residents that call the Near West Side their home.”
A resident-driven project born from community priorities that came out of Harley-Davidson’s 2021 Appreciative Inquiry Summit, Concordia 27 will address six inequities in the community – housing insecurity, health disparities, trauma, food insecurity, unemployment and transportation access – and bring service providers and resources together under one roof to provide access to nutritious food, health and wellness services, job training, entrepreneurial space, housing and transportation.
“Funding from Governor Evers will ensure the vision of Near West Side residents can come to life,” said Keith Stanley, Executive Director of Near West Side Partners. “We are actively seeking support from others in our community to amplify the State’s investment and maximize the impact of Concordia 27 and its community-driven offerings for the long haul.”
Concordia 27 will include:
• Daily fresh, affordable meals-to-go to address food insecurity for more than 1,000 residents,
• Nutritious school meals for more than 15,000 low-income students at 106 schools in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha,
• A commercial, demonstration and incubator kitchen operated by MCFI to provide culinary workforce training opportunities for youth and adults with intellectual disabilities and those previously incarcerated,
• 30 affordable housing units for senior citizens and working families,
• Gathering space to foster community engagement,
• Dedicated commercial spaces for nonprofits Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI), Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM) and Near West Side Partners (NWSP) to provide nutrition, wellness services, housing resources and expanded minority business entrepreneurial support, and
• Convenient access to transit through MCTS’s Bus Rapid Transit line.
The project will create new full-time job opportunities, space for community engagement, and support entrepreneurs and small businesses as they grow and generate additional jobs to strengthen the local economy – expanding the impact of Concordia 27 even beyond the Near West Side.
ABOUT NEAR WEST SIDE PARTNERS, INC.
Near West Side Partners, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to revitalize and sustain the Near West Side as a thriving business and residential corridor, through collaborative efforts to promote commercial corridor development, improved housing, unified neighborhood identity and branding, and greater safety for residents and businesses. Near West Side Partners, Inc. is an organization of businesses and civic leaders from throughout the Near West Side, including the organization’s five anchor institutions – Advocate Aurora Health, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, Molson Coors and Potawatomi Business Development Corp.