WHAT IS THE MKE UNITED GREATER DOWNTOWN ACTION AGENDA?
The MKE United Greater Downtown Action Agenda is a comprehensive planning process through which we will create a shared and inclusive vision for Downtown Milwaukee and its adjacent neighborhoods, supported by a strategic Action Agenda to make that vision a reality.
HOW IS THIS EFFORT DIFFERENT FROM PREVIOUS/CURRENT PLANNING EFFORTS?
There has already been a significant amount of planning and in some cases successful implementation. The Action Agenda will leverage this work to create a new, shared vision for Greater Downtown that will accelerate implementation, establish necessary integration and coordination across neighborhoods, and create cross-sector partnerships that will aid in more effective implementation. Building upon the work of existing plans, the Greater Downtown Action Agenda will also:
Create a shared vision across neighborhood boundaries, organizations, sectors, race and class
Outline tangible and feasible targets, actions, timelines and metrics for inclusive growth that can benefit all Milwaukeeans
Design a civic engagement process that builds trust, creates cross sector working relationships and partnerships, and builds a well-informed and long-standing constituency for planning and implementation
WHO IS LEADING THIS EFFORT?
MKE United is led by an Executive Committee that includes representation from the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Urban League, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and LISC Milwaukee. The Executive Committee will be advised by a Steering Committee representing a diverse cross section of Milwaukee leaders from government, community, nonprofit, philanthropy, business and institutional sectors. MKE United also convenes a group of community leaders and residents to ensure that the MKE United plan is benefitting the neighborhoods it aims to serve.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "GREATER DOWNTOWN"?
Greater Downtown is comprised of downtown Milwaukee and the neighborhoods immediately adjacent, including: Lower East Side; Brewer’s Hill/Harambee; King Drive/Bronzeville; Lindsay Heights/Fondy-North; Near West Side (East); Menomonee Valley (East); Clarke Square; Walker Square; Walkers Point; and the Historic Third Ward.
WHAT ARE THE TOP OUTCOMES YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE? WHAT WILL MKE UNITED ADDRESS?
There is often skepticism about planning processes, as people fear the end result will only be a plan that “sits on the shelf.” Instead, the Action Agenda will be a “living” implementation playbook, useable by all, with actionable items over the next 10 years. It will include specific assignments that government and business, community, philanthropic and institutional sectors can reasonably commit to accomplish. Specific outcomes include:
Building better economic, transportation and cultural connections within and across the greater downtown area
Prioritizing inclusive development opportunities to grow and strengthen businesses and jobs in the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods for Milwaukeeans and new talent
Creating a stronger downtown and neighborhood identity that highlights the historic, cultural, entertainment and public spaces that make Milwaukee’s Greater Downtown distinct, authentic, and attractive to residents, workers and visitors
Increasing the density of housing, jobs and entertainment and cultural amenities that provide more options for all Milwaukeeans and visitors to enjoy the greater downtown
Identifying the necessary priorities, actions, resources and tools required for implementation and realistic timeframes for execution
Creating new capacities for building relationships, networks, partnerships and accountabilities for implementation
Building enthusiasm and a welcoming environment for all the neighborhoods of downtown for Milwaukeeans as well as regional and global visitors
HOW WILL MKE UNITED RESULT IN ACTION/CHANGE?
MKE United will culminate with an Action Agenda that includes specific actionable recommendations, along with clearly assigned responsibilities, to ensure the new, shared vision becomes a reality. Our goal is to produce a 10-year Action Agenda that outlines tangible and feasible outcomes that can be implemented as early actions (0–12 month), near-term actions (1–5 years) and long-term actions (5–10 years).
WHO WILL ACTUALLY IMPLEMENT ACTION AGENDA STRATEGIES?
To be successful, the Action Agenda will require the ongoing partnership and commitment of every sector of the Milwaukee community including City and County government, and the business, community, institutional, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Each will play a critical role in designing feasible strategies and actions, identifying targets, resources and metrics, and making commitments to timelines for action and plans for accountability.
WHAT IS THE TIMELINE FOR THE PROJECT? WHEN WILL WE SEE ACTUAL, TANGIBLE RESULTS?
The Action Agenda process will take 9–12 months to complete, and we started civic engagement efforts in the summer of 2017. Our goal is to produce a 10-year Action Agenda that outlines tangible and feasible outcomes that can be implemented as early actions (0–12 month), near-term actions (1–5 years) and long-term actions (5–10 years). We embarked on the early action items in spring of 2018.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THIS EFFORT? HOW WILL THE GENERAL PUBLIC BENEFIT FROM THIS EFFORT?
Milwaukee is at a critical crossroads. We are experiencing once-in-a-generation development in and around downtown that are creating tremendous new opportunities for our City. However, we also acknowledge that some of our residents do not feel connected to this growth or the downtown, fearing being left out or pushed out. The Action Agenda process is committed to achieving a Greater Downtown that is:
Welcoming to all, including inclusive business, employment, amenity and cultural offerings
A strong economic engine that attracts and retains inclusive and diverse businesses and jobs that grow household incomes for all Milwaukeeans
Well connected to its neighborhoods and the region
Positioned to attract new investment that will provide the necessary revenues to support a high quality of life for Milwaukeeans
HOW ARE YOU DEFINING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT?
Civic engagement is when a broad set of residents, business, faith and community-based organizations, government, nonprofits, philanthropy, and institutions — known as civic sectors — are engaged and convened at the same table in a multi-faceted dialogue to discuss, debate, resolve and act collectively. Over the next 9–12 months, we will provide several opportunities for the Milwaukee community to come together to help shape the vision, priorities and strategies for the Action Agenda.
Our six goals for civic engagement include:
Build trust among different community sectors with a belief that their interests will be served by the success of the Action Agenda
Build enthusiasm about the Greater Downtown Milwaukee neighborhoods
Make information accessible and create transparency about involvement and how input will be used in to inform the Agenda
Work collectively across neighborhood boundaries
Establish a shared plan of action with accountability metrics among different implementing partners
Create new cross-sector constituencies and partnerships for planning and implementation
HOW WILL YOU BE WORKING WITH THE INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE ALREADY HAVING AN IMPACT IN MILWAUKEE?
We will work to involve all sectors of the Greater Downtown community. In addition to an Executive Committee, and Steering Committee — inclusive of leaders from key community, civic, business, institutional, cultural and nonprofit entities — we are building a database of “community actors” who are working on the ground in each neighborhood of the greater downtown. These individuals will provide important data, reports and insights about their current plans, programs and implementation priorities with the goal of integrating the work already done by communities within the greater downtown into the Action Agenda process.
In addition, MKE United convenes the MKE United Community Leaders Committee. This group is made up of community organizers, engagers, connectors and residents from community-based organizations and the neighborhoods they serve within the MKE United geography. This group integrates neighborhood intelligence and talent into the planning processes through their Transparent Feedback Model.
HOW CAN THE GENERAL PUBLIC STAY UP-TO-DATE/GET INVOLVED?
The project’s web site, MKEUnited.com, will include information about how to get involved and opportunities for engagement in the Greater Downtown Action Agenda.