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During a recent episode of the Chancellor’s Report UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago was explaining UWM’s recent growth, and stated that “the city is a big draw.” His efforts to build “Innovation Park” on the Milwaukee County Grounds in Wauwatosa seem to ignore this fact. Of course the city is a big draw, because it offers something that a sprawling office park will never be able to offer students. It offers walkability instead of drivability, McGillicuddy’s instead of Applebee’s, parks instead of parking lots, and diversity instead of iteration. Of course it is a “big draw,” because the city offers an urban experience.
Instead of contributing to the decline of the Milwaukee by drawing investment, students, and potential residents out of the city, UWM could use the city to draw in investment, and talent. If UWM were to work with the Milwaukee, to grow the university within the various neighborhoods, it could in fact become a talent magnet, a draw, for the city. Recently UWM professor Marc Levine wrote in opposition to the UWM’s proposed Wauwatosa expansion in a Journal Sentinel op-ed, UWM as economic engine? Dream on
. Specifically, he argued that, “by investing an estimated $150 million outside Milwaukee, UWM will help spearhead a further outflow of capital and workers from a city that has been buffeted over the past 30 years by growing joblessness, poverty and the suburbanization of industry – hardly a positive contribution to local economic development.” Clearly, if UWM were to invest that $150 million within Milwaukee, it could revitalize neighborhoods, spur development, provide jobs, and help build a stronger Milwaukee, all the while using the city as a “big draw.”
If you’d like UWM, to become a “big draw” for Milwaukee, and for Milwaukee to continue to be the “big draw” for UWM, the UWM Campus Master Plan is still taking input. You can add your comments here.