Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Make Your Voice Heard on The Future of Downtown

City soliciting input via community meeting, interactive maps and idea wall.

By - Dec 3rd, 2021 12:22 pm
Milwaukee Skyline. Photo from Milwaukee Downtown.

Milwaukee Skyline. Photo from Milwaukee Downtown.

Have strong feelings about the future of downtown Milwaukee? The City of Milwaukee would like to hear from you.

Earlier this year, the Department of City Development and Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21 launched a process to update the city’s comprehensive land-use plan for the downtown area and hired a team of contractors.

Now they’re looking for community input.

A website allows individuals to add comments to an interactive map or a virtual idea wall. A virtual community meeting is planned for Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. Registration for the meeting is now open.

“Strong participation from the community will ensure a vibrant downtown for future generations,” said Milwaukee Downtown CEO Beth Weirick in a statement. “The updated plan is a collaboration between the city and its residents, who know the city best.”

The process, known as “Connec+ing MKE 2040,” is designed to update the 2010 Downtown Area Plan that guided the development of catalytic projects like The Hop streetcar line and set broad land-use strategies. Since that plan was created, DCD and Milwaukee Downtown report that $3.5 billion of real estate development has taken place and 4,800 new residential housing units were created.

P3 Development Group is serving as an equity and engagement consultant. The Kubala Washatko ArchitectsHNTBAmerican Design, Inc., and raSmith are providing urban design services.

The planning effort is expected to be concluded in 2022.

The 2010 plan called for eight catalytic projects, four of which have been implemented or are well underway. The city and partners have successfully created a streetcar system, reactivated W. Wisconsin Ave., improved the connection between Downtown and the Historic Third Ward along N. Broadway and strategized for the creation of a Lakefront Gateway district, once The Couture is completed, near E. Michigan St. and N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.

Projects that haven’t advanced include the redevelopment of MacArthur Square, the redevelopment and activation of W. St. Paul Ave. near the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, an improved and better connected Pere Marquette Park, and development of the Haymarket area. But with the exception of MacArthur Square, there are major developments pending or underway that would substantially advance the remaining projects.

Milwaukee Downtown will match $50,000 of city funds, allocated through the budget, with $100,000 of its own to advance the effort.

The 2010 plan’s creation coincided with a citywide effort to create state-required area plans. But the downtown plan built on a prior plan.

The 1999 plan called for a number of projects and improvements Milwaukeeans now take for granted: the demolition of the Park East Freeway, redevelopment of the Pabst Brewery, completing the Milwaukee RiverWalk and more two-way streets. A handful of projects were carried over to the 2010 plan, including MacArthur Square and creating a neighborhood around the train station.

DCD has undertaken a number of other area planning projects in recent years, including the Water and Land Use Plan that guides the development of the Harbor District. Last month the Common Council adopted the new Fond du Lac and North Area Plan, which includes 16 priority projects for the AmaniLindsay HeightsMetcalfe Park and Midtown neighborhoods.

One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Make Your Voice Heard on The Future of Downtown”

  1. Polaris says:

    These are great tools, especially the interactive map! Fun to look through and see everyone’s ideas. And, I even put up an idea of my own…likely replacing something I would have said on here! 😉

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