2015–2016 Achievements


Strategic Plan

The completion of a strategic plan for the Near West Side, based on extensive input from anchors, the four working teams, neighborhood associations, residents and local elected officials. The result is a great roadmap to guide our work in the months and years ahead. 


Launched PARC

The launch of PARC, a three-year, $1.5+ million, anchor-funded initiative designed to support NWSP mission by promoting assets to transform the perception of the neighborhood and reducing crime to address the reality of the neighborhood’s challenges.


NWS BID Expansion Approved

In Fall 2015, we successfully expanded BID #10 to include the entire Near West Side neighborhood, a 300% increase in resources to enhance the community. Members of the BID will have access to a variety of resources to reinvest in our commercial assets, such as façade improvements, increased safety and security, quality maintenance and management advising, neighborhood markets and a small business loan program.


NWS Economic Development Fund

NWSP has committed to raising $5 million over 3-years – and it has already secured $2+ million, exceeding its first year goal. This includes an initial $800,000 matching grant from Milwaukee County, secured last Fall, 2015, in addition to $1.2 million in private resources committed by Milwaukee Urban Strategic Investment Corporation (MUSIC) and the Harley-Davidson Foundation. This fund will create new opportunities for investment in economic development efforts for the Near West Side. 


New Brand Identity

We developed and launched a new brand identity to signify the Near West Side as a “Neighborhood of Neighborhoods.” We unveiled the logo as part of an event with our local elected officials and hundreds of employees from our anchor institutions and residents as part of one of Mayor Barrett’s Walks in summer 2015.


Problematic Parcels

The concerted effort to target problematic parcels across the neighborhood to provide sustainable solutions. We are working with the City through a multi-pronged strategy that will help to improve the health of the community, increase property value and build the tax base. 


NWSP Green Space Initiative

In Fall 2015, we launched a new green space initiative in collaboration with the City and MMSD, to bring life to vacant lots in the Near West Side. We kicked off the initiative with the development of a new community garden and gathering green in the Cold Spring Park Neighborhood, and completed beautification efforts on seven additional sights throughout the neighborhood.


27th Street Tobacco Shop / Gov. Walker Signs AB 628

Through the collective efforts of NWSP, the City, residents and local businesses, the 27th Street Tobacco Shop voluntarily shut down operations after a court hearing in early 2016. In addition, in March, Near West Side Partners and its anchor institutions participated in an event at Aurora Sinai Medical Center where Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 628 into law, which will help save taxpayer resources, reduce crime and promote economic development in Milwaukee.

Federal Agency Briefing

Congresswoman Gwen Moore organized a briefing for federal agencies about the Near West Side regarding future partnership opportunities. The briefing was very successful, with representation from six federal agencies and interest from several others. The meetings are already beginning to bear fruit as NWSP explores federal partnership and investment opportunities. 


Near West Side Design Charette

In April 2016, NWSP collaborated with UWM’s Community Design Solutions Center to host an all-day Design Charette to help create ideas for the redevelopment of six, key opportunity sites in the Near West Side. Preliminary results will be shared with the community at the next Neighborhood of Neighborhoods meeting on June 20, 2016.


Deepening Community Engagement


Hired Community Outreach Specialist

Near West Side Partners was proud to announce Darrian Davis as its new Community Outreach Specialist in January. Darrian has hit the ground running, meeting with dozens of individuals, neighborhood associations and other community partners and taking the lead on new outreach efforts.  


Ambassador Program
In November 2015, NWSP launched its Near West Side Ambassador Program to deepen engagement with area businesses and residents. In collaboration with Milwaukee Police Department and through a contract with G4S Secure Solutions, NWSP launched a 15-week pilot program. It’s been a huge success and NWSP and BID #10 has extended the program for at least another 15 weeks into July 2016. 


Good Neighbor Designation

The Housing Working Team is working to improve the quality of tenant life by reducing risks and hazards, and encouraging property owners / managers and tenants to think proactively about safety, security and the aesthetic quality of our neighborhood. NWSP is providing enhanced training to landlords and a “Good Neighbor Designation” to help tenants identify high-quality residential options.


 Celebrating Near West Side's Great Assets


Around the Corner with John McGivern

Earlier this year, the eastern half of the Near West Side was featured as part of John McGivern’s “Around the Corner” program on PBS. The episode was so successful that McGivern is coming back for another episode in the western half of the Near West Side.


The Rave Wins ACM Award

The Rave won the 2016 Academy of Country Music Award for Venue of the Year – Small Capacity. A great example of the wonderful assets we have in the Near West Side that are not only receiving local attention, but national recognition.


Penfield Montessori Academy

This fall, long-time Near West Side partner - Penfield Children's Center - will be returning to its Montessori roots with the opening of Penfield Montessori Academy in the Near West Side. Penfield is currently recruiting to fill 75 kindergarten spots (K3, K4 & K5) for its inaugural class. For more information, visit www.PenfieldMontessori.org.


Deepening Partnerships/Recognitions


GMC/CAM “Walk the Talk” 2016

Last year, the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) program merged its annual “Flying Car” event with Creative Alliance Milwaukee’s (CAM) annual “Creative Milwaukee @ Work Summit” to launch the first annual “Walk the Talk” Conference. They recently announced that the Near West Side will host this year’s event in October 2016!


Challenge Fund

At the Spring 2016 CEO Symposium, NWSP announced the launch of a Near West Side Challenge Fund, designed to raise $5 million over the next three years to provide resources to make critical investments in the Near West Side. Already, $2 million has been committed, which includes a $800,000 grant from Milwaukee County and an additional $1.2 million from Milwaukee Urban Strategic Investment Corp. (MUSIC) and the Harley-Davidson Foundation.