Creative Placemaking

Newly opened ARTery path extends Milwaukee’s Beerline Trail

Published August 24, 2015
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A former rail corridor that had become a dumping ground for trash and old tires between the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods was celebrated Monday as a new extension of the City of Milwaukee’s Beerline Trail.

The modest, 10-foot-wide asphalt path runs two-thirds of a mile from the intersection of N. Richards St. and E. Keefe Ave. north to Capitol Drive and is appropriate for walking, biking, running, skateboarding, motorized wheelchairs and scooters.

The cost of the trail extension was $1,141,915, about 80% of which came from a federal program designed to promote non-car transportation alternatives. The property was purchased by the City of Milwaukee from a private owner.

The site was identified as a possible linear park by community organizer Keith Hayes a few years ago. Last summer, long before the area was paved, cooking classes, poetry readings, drumming, dance performances and unique game shows were staged in the space, which Hayes had dubbed the ARTery.

A year of additional programming will begin on the heels of Riverworks Week, Sept. 15-19, organized by artists Dasha Kelly and Brad Pruitt, among others. The Riverworks Business Improvement District calls the area “Milwaukee’s creative district” and is working to attract more creative businesses and projects.

The site has attracted two national placemaking grants. The Greater Milwaukee Committee was awarded $724,500 from the Kresge Foundation last year. Half of those funds have been spent on community organizing, planning and implementing of arts programs. ArtPlace America, a consortium of national and regional foundations and banks that works with the National Endowment for the Arts and other federal agencies, awarded $350,000 to the GMC in 2013, half of which was invested in the ARTery.

Read the full article here.

Beerline Trail extension opens in Milwaukee

Published August 24, 2015
From TMJ4

MILWAUKEE — A former railroad line that once served Milwaukee’s booming beer industry is getting a second run as a recreational trail.

The Beerline Trail is being extended through the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods. Not only will it serve walkers, runners, bikers, but it will support businesses along the trail.

Community leaders gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday morning.

“Let’s recapture our public spaces,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “And let’s use them for families, let’s use them for people who want to get out for recreation, let’s do it in the safest way possible.”

Check out the full story and video here.


The Artery: Breathing life into abandoned Milwaukee rail corridor creates community space

Published August 4, 2015

Keith Hayes was among the first to recognize the potential of a former rail corridor, where Milwaukee’s Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods intersect. The space, now called the artery, stretches from W. Keefe Avenue up to W. Capitol Drive.

Hayes started an organization, called beintween, to adopt leftover places like this. “I think (the artery) is a really crucial one. It’s eight acres,” he says. “It’s 100 feet wide, so it could be programmed with different kinds of park space. We’re hoping we can really get youth a safe place to play (because there) isn’t much park space in Harambee.”

Multiple individuals and organizations have taken on the neglected dumping ground northwest of the Beerline Trail. NEWaukee, the Kresge Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s stewardship team have stepped up to the plate – just to name a few.

Read and listen to the full piece here.

Milwaukee needs fresh vision as development quickens

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published January 17, 2015

Milwaukee is at a pivotal point in its growth. It may be a once-in-a-generation moment. Major buildings are springing up downtown. The city, county and state are implementing the Lakefront Gateway Project that reroutes the freeway and will eventually include a new park between the Summerfest grounds and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Just as significantly, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, in concert with several organizations, was awarded a coveted $724,500 Kresge Foundation grant to continue creating “The ARTery” and reviving adjacent Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods. This public park project is transforming a derelict rail corridor (between Keefe Ave. and Capitol Drive) by engaging residents, businesses and artists. This “creative placemaking” effort, a national approach gaining ground here, emphasizes cultural expression and community collaboration. It’s one example of an inclusive approach to redevelopment.

Strong cities depend on robust public infrastructure. That includes comprehensive mass transportation and vibrant public parks. Others have presented options for more and better transit — although these often have stalled. So let’s focus on parks and other public spaces. The Trust for Public Land cites compelling research: Property values rise 3% to 30% near parks, thus increasing the tax base.

Read the full article here.

GMC receives Harvesting Leading Practices grant from Kresge Foundation

Grant supports work in creative placemaking for the artery and Harambee/Riverwest neighborhoods

MILWAUKEE, December 2, 2014 – The Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), in partnership with beintween, Riverworks Development Corporation (RDC), Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative (HGNI), the City of Milwaukee, and creative placemaking consultant Sara Daleiden of MKE<->LAX, has received a Harvesting Leading Practices grant from the Detroit-based Kresge Foundation for $724,500. This grant will further support work by the coalition with Creational Trails: The artery at the Beerline Recreational Trail Extension in the Riverworks area, as well as the development of a cultural leadership network versed in creative placemaking. The Kresge Foundation also offers thought partnership and access to its national network of initiatives.

“The Kresge Foundation’s commitment to creative placemaking in Milwaukee builds on important work underway in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods and provides the opportunity to advance community and economic development goals with creative talent and focus,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and co-chair of the GMC’s Creative Placemaking Committee.

As a result of the City of Milwaukee’s $1,042,000 investment in the 2015 trail extension, the artery will grow as a spine for redevelopment in the Riverworks area. The next phase of creative placemaking runs from January 2015 to December 2016, expanding on the discoveries made when the trail was supported by the 2013-14 ArtPlace America grant. The RDC, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Transform Milwaukee, and LISC have also committed additional support to this Riverworks-based initiative.

“The artery has become grounds for engaging community with the same curiosity, creativity, and craftiness that an artisan might engage a material,” said beintween founder Keith Hayes, LEED AP. “Activation of a network through landscape and site experimentation explores a deeper understanding of neighborhood, one that is creating context for social innovation and spatial iteration to promote the role of the public in space.”

Founded by beintween, the artery repurposes the former Gibson railyard into an 8-acre linear park, extending the Beerline Recreational Trail to connect Harambee, Riverwest and the industrial corridor of Riverworks. The artery engages neighbors and artists in a collaborative process to develop public space through performance-based programming and installations. By adopting and adapting resources to develop both physical and cultural landscapes, this coalition is building new access to the park and neighborhood as a public expression of equity.

“This is great news for the Riverworks area,” said Darryl Johnson, executive director of Riverworks Development Corporation. “The Kresge Foundation’s investment into this community to help support our creative placemaking efforts in the Harambee and Riverwest communities to increase the potential for community and economic development opportunities for residents who live and work in these communities can make this a model for other communities to follow.”

The work surrounding the artery intends to expand Riverworks as a live-work hub for artists, makers, community organizers and other cultural leaders, and seeks opportunities to create and grow entrepreneurial ventures in the neighborhood. The coalition will generate community asset maps of available buildings and lots, business development organizations, arts and community organizations, and independent workers; market underutilized industrial and residential space to creative workers for live-work and co-working space and for scaling production of contract manufacturing; and grow youth and adult entrepreneurship programs in collaboration with Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation and other local agencies.

HGNI will also work with neighborhood and resident organizations to create community visioning sessions, and will continue their research partnership with Marquette University’s Democracy Lab to identify best practices for increasing community-wide participation.

“Creative placemaking values the magnetism of authentic culture present in a neighborhood and explores the possibility of complementary vibrancy with new developments,” said Barry Mandel, president of Mandel Group Inc. and co-chair of the GMC’s Creative Placemaking Committee. “We will convene a leadership network versed in regional and national creative placemaking.”

In the spring, the coalition will facilitate a Strategic Actioning Session (SAS) to foster alignment with community leadership and identify core projects for development during this phase. The SAS will occur in tandem to discovery trips to other national case studies relevant to the artery and Riverworks. The SAS extends from the recent charrette process led by the RDC, City of Milwaukee, and UWM’s Community Design Solutions, which focused on potential commercial and residential redevelopment sites in relation to the artery.

“The GMC’s investment in the artery and Riverworks aligns with our organization’s work to foster local awareness of and support for creative placemaking,” said GMC president Julia Taylor. “The GMC is committed to generating an intergenerational and culturally diverse leadership network who can translate national values around creative placemaking to acknowledge existing and potential initiatives in Milwaukee.” This leadership network will advise on the development of the artery in Riverworks and be available to address other neighborhoods in the city. A key goal is to connect local independent workers in the arts and other entrepreneurial areas with economic and community development sectors.



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