Since its inception in 2015, Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP) has been committed to impactful change in the Near West Side neighborhoods. Check out some of the highlighted accomplishments as a result of hard work and successful collaboration with our partners, residents, businesses and friends!
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.
Mini Block Build
The Miller Valley neighborhood will be the site of a “2017 Mini Block Build” after being chosen by the group “Revitalize Milwaukee.” The goal is to help make life easier and improve neighborhoods that would otherwise struggle to fund repair costs on their own. This impacts low-income homeowners, including senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities.
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
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.
Drive Safe Campaign
In an effort to combat the growing issue of careless driving in the neighborhood of neighborhoods, one Near West Side resident took initiative and helped us kick off the Drive Safe campaign. Special signs were created and provided for free to Near West Side residents in a group effort to address this problem and remind drivers to slow down. With growing support throughout the neighborhoods, residents are spreading the word that the Near West Side is a place that encourages and supports safe driving.
Since its inception in 2016, Rev-Up MKE the small business competition provides an opportunity for start-up entrepreneurs to expand or start a business and get the support needed to make it successful in the Near West Side. Finalists receive hands-on business training from Near West Side Partners anchor institutions in preparation for a live pitch event. The final winner receives significant resources to support their new venture, which will be located in a Near West Side storefront.
Celebrating Near West Side’s Great Assets
Historic Concordia Neighborhood Tour of Homes
The annual Historic Concordia Neighborhood Tour of Homes features the unique homes that make up this Near West Side neighborhood. This interactive tour showcases the historic homes throughout the neighborhood, provides attendees an opportunity to talk with homeowners and get a glimpse into the remodeling and restoration processes of these homes.
Mobile Design Box
The Mobile Design Box is a partnership between the School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP), local developers, neighborhood advocates, cultural institutions, artists, and community stakeholders to activate a vacant storefront space into a community asset. This space provides for the exhibition of work from local artists as well as community-based design work from the School. The space provides for a diverse array of programming including artists' workshops, design speaker events, community meetings, and spoken word events.
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 came back for another episode in the western half of the Near West Side in spring 2017.
Penfield Montessori Academy
In fall 2017, 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.
GMC/CAM “Walk the Talk” 2016
In 2016, 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!
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.
Near West Side Farmers Market
NWSP is committed to bringing fresh food options to the 50,000+ residents and employees of the Near West Side neighborhoods. Working in collaboration with the Tosa Farmers Market and the Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI), NWSP hosted its inaugural farmers market season of community vendors for six weeks throughout the summer of 2017 at 20th & Kilbourn in Avenues West.
Brighter Near West Side
Brighter Near West Side is a pilot program that provides subsidized lighting installation on properties in the Concordia neighborhood. Participants in the program will receive installation of selected residential lighting at 1/3 of the regular price, as well as the assistance of Marquette University students in a cleaning and greening campaign throughout the Concordia neighborhood.
Safe & Sound Camera Program
Near West Side Partners is excited to partner with Safe & Sound to bring subsidized surveillance cameras to property owners in the Near West Side. This program seeks to ensure a high quality of life for residents, improve conditions for businesses, and advance the safety, security, and the aesthetic quality of our neighborhood.
Colliers Real Estate
As the preferred provider of commercial real estate services for NWSP, Colliers offers professionals prepared to serve property occupiers, offer professionals prepared to serve property occupiers, owners and investors involved in the Near West Side. It will coordinate services through a dedicated account manager with deep knowledge of the Near West Side and with full access to the deep bench strength of the full Colliers team. Colliers has also been active in NWSP, with representatives serving on the Commercial Corridor Working Team.