Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

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Co:Lab civic accelerator has groups competing with ideas

By - Apr 30th, 2020 01:50 pm
Co:Lab participants. Images from the participants.

Co:Lab participants. Images from the participants.

Groups working on civic challenges in the Clarke Square, Lindsay Heights and Riverworks neighborhoods are ready to present their place-based ideas. And you can see their vision and cast a vote to determine which group receives $5,000 to begin implementing its vision.

Three teams of seven spent the past 10 weeks meeting with area stakeholders and business improvement district leaders to design solutions for the area’s commercial corridors. Solutions range from a visual branding campaign on a busy intersection to connecting an existing coworking space to the surrounding neighborhoods.

The program, known as Co:Lab, is a civic accelerator led by The Commons, Startup Milwaukee and NEWaukee. The participants in the program came from the outreach networks of the groups and participating business improvement districts.

“Through our work with The Commons, we’ve met countless emerging leaders passionate about addressing social challenges in Milwaukee,” said Michael Hostad, executive director of The Commons, in announcing the latest cohort. “Co:Lab presents a unique opportunity to explore those ideas and provide a platform for implementation.”

The groups would normally pitch in-person to an audience, with the crowd voting which group wins the funds. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made an in-person gathering infeasible.

The hosts have pivoted to an online platform, in which each group makes its pitch via video.

  • InterNATIONAL Avenuea way to celebrate the Clarke Square neighborhood’s vibrant cultural heritage, while connecting and empowering local community members through a variety of art projects along National Avenue. – Presentation
  • The Lindsay Heights Painting Project – is a strategic concept to build community awareness and create intentional “stickiness” through colorful streetscape art painted by local artists and community members. – Presentation
  • Vibe Together  a comprehensive plan to turn the Riverworks neighborhood’s Vibe coworking space into an inclusive bridge for members of the surrounding neighborhoods to foster relationships and build a diverse ecosystem of growth. – Presentation

Voting closes at the end of the day on May 6th. Voting is free and open to the public, a name and email address is required.

Participants include Taylor Dei, Ben Rangel, Jared Fink, Kevin Kuschel, Karen Oliva, Erica Weber Whitmore, Sydney Romero, Simba Gandari, Sona Son, Brennan O’Connell, Jessica Pharm, Caitlin Schneider, Quincy Kissack, Edward Wingard, Amy Hillegas, Dulce Duran, Jesus Maldonado Reyes, Bernard Davis, Steve Balistreri, Sanjana Segu and Nick Stark.

The groups worked with the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, the Marketplace BID and Riverworks Development Corporation

The winning group in the 2019 pitch was a team focused on adding playspace to Historic Mitchell Street.

Startup Milwaukee president Matt Cordio told Urban Milwaukee in October that the Mitchell Street and Granville groups are still pursuing their ideas, while the Near West Side Partners team has invested the $1,000 it received from The Big Impact in a campaign to “elevate employee awareness of the neighborhood” with some of the partner companies.

You can vote here

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