"At the heart of most great cities is a unique historic core imbued with the ideals of its community."
What is your job and responsibilities?
For the past two years, an incredible group of individuals representing local, regional, and national organizations has been working with the Milwaukee VA Medical Center to stabilize two amazing historic buildings at the Soldiers Home Historic District—the Ward Theater and Old Main. As the conversation turns from stabilization to restoration, creating awareness and gaining support from the community is vital to the restoration of these buildings and ensuring their continued use in service to veterans. Consequently, as a local partner in this collaborative effort, Milwaukee Preservation Alliance has taken me on as their Project Manager to work exclusively with the Save the Soldiers Home Project.
What is your favorite Milwaukee building?
I don’t know that I can pick just one; I love so many! However, there are a few that have been and continue to be inspirations. The Harnischfeger Mansion is a long standing favorite. I have an unreasonable love affair with that building, unreasonable. It has been a source of curiosity and inspiration since my early years in college. The Gipfel Brewery building, which is no longer standing, really awoke the advocate and historic preservationist in me. If there was ever a restoration and adaptive reuse project that would have been a labor of love, it was the Gipfel Brewery. My latest muse is at the Soldiers Home. While it might seem like an obvious answer, the Ward Theater and Old Main truly represent a rare collection of historic buildings that are unlike any other in this city—or in the nation for that matter.
I would really like to see the preservation ethic strengthened in Milwaukee. In the discussion of what makes this city unique and enticing for people, it’s our built environment. Even though not every building has a great historic narrative, our existing buildings represent the evolution of Milwaukee and contribute to the character that we have all come to know and love. Preservation has the incredible benefit of appealing to multiple disciplines and interests. It goes hand in hand with vibrant neighborhoods, community partnership, walkability, sustainability, the arts—the list goes on. At the heart of most great cities, there is a unique and distinct historic core that has been appreciated, preserved and imbued with the ideals of its community, and, personally, that is what I gravitate toward– not the latest and greatest in projecting glass boxes and parking garages.
Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?
Honestly, after college, I definitely had the mind-set of relocating to new places and greener pastures until I realized that my interests and passions were rooted in Milwaukee and this was the best place to immerse myself and pursue those passions.
What is your favorite Milwaukee event?
At the moment, I am especially excited about Doors Open Milwaukee, admittedly because this year the Soldiers Home is a part of the Public Tours, which yours truly will be leading. Also, Doors Open is a really exceptional event that reaches a wide-ranging audience and encourages them to engage with and appreciate Milwaukee’s built environment.
What neighborhood do you live in and what do you like about it?
I live in Riverwest, and I love it.