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Municipalities City of Milwaukee

United States

From: 04 Oct 2023 - To - 06 Oct 2023

Description: Milwaukee “has its swagger on.” It’s time Portland got its swagger on, too. Milwaukee, after many years of de-industrialization, population loss and civic problems (violent crime, inequality gap among residents, poorly performing public schools, many lead water pipes), etc. seems to be coming back.

Attendees and Agenda

BP Milwaukee Delegate List 10.3.23.pdf FINAL Agenda for Distribution - Best Practices to Milwaukee.pdf

Milwaukee’s downtown has benefited from investment in clean-up and renovation. Since the Downtown Area Plan was adopted in 2010, $4.5 billion has been invested in public and private projects. More than $3.1 billion additional investment is underway or planned.

Current projects include development of the Deer District (ongoing); lights on the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge (ongoing); and plans related to the overall urban plan,“ Connecting MKE: Downtown Plan 2040.”

The downtown ends at the shore of Lake Michigan, and efforts have been made to make the most of the long stretch of lakefront. The signature Quadracci Pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava, was completed in 2001. The outdoor concert venue housing Summerfest, the music festival was first held in 1968, has grown into a multi-stage concert location for not only the long-running music celebration but also for celebrations by other ethnic and cultural groups.

Large companies (e.g. Milwaukee Tool, etc.) are moving operations, including headquarters (e.g. Fiserv), into the city.

The Historic Third Ward, where most trip participants stayed in the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, was historically a warehouse district. Today it is a “mixed-use district,” home to hundreds of businesses, specialty shops, restaurants, art galleries, and condominiums.

“Overall, our economy is strong with an unemployment rate in Milwaukee County running around three percent. That’s better than the national rate.  However, we cannot ignore the clear disparities in economic health that exist within our city.,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson during his June 2023 State of the City address.

In July 2023, the city of Milwaukee and the surrounding Milwaukee County each approved local sales tax increases—helping both the city and county avoid drastic cuts to essential services and possible bankruptcy. Approval for the local sales taxes emerged from a successful effort to win bipartisan approval from the Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic governor.

Strong leadership has helped make some projects succeed, according to Omar Shaikh, co-owner of a food court that is revitalizing a once-neglected area of downtown.

The improvements in downtown cleanup and investment, as well as in tourism and entertainment faculties has boosted tourism to Milwaukee. Convention business also is picking up. The Republican National Convention is scheduled to convene in Milwaukee in 2024.

Pre-Trip Materials,

Best Practices Milwaukee Pre-trip Materials.pdf Milwaukee notes, participant take-aways, news, background 1.11.24.pdf Best Practice Milwaukee Newsletter November 2023.pdf