At the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s annual meeting in February, members heard from former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak. His visit came at an opportune time for Milwaukee and the GMC, as we wait for the results of the arena discussions and prepare for the first official meeting of the newly-formed GMC Downtown Task Force.
One of the key takeaways from R.T.’s presentation is the need to have an overarching, long-term vision for downtown. We, as the GMC, must ask ourselves: what could downtown Milwaukee look like? What needs could it serve? Instead of looking at our city plot by plot, it’s time to look at it as a whole which is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts.
Over the next three years, we have a series of unique pivotal opportunities impacting our downtown, including $2 billion in private development, the new lakefront gateway, the Milwaukee Bucks arena, the redevelopment of West Wisconsin Avenue and the creation of a modern streetcar transit system.
The GMC recognizes the importance of active business and civic leadership and support during this critical time. Important policy decisions will be made that will define our regions for decades.
With this in mind, the GMC created the Downtown Task Force to provide thoughtful leadership and civic guidance early in the evolution of proposed civic and infrastructure projects originating from the public and/or private sector. This civic leadership group will provide input, fund research, evaluate the impact of these projects in other cities and Milwaukee, test for proof of concept, and ultimately put forward ideas and projects with in-depth knowledge and the confidence of the GMC to the general public in partnership with our public officials. The GMC pledges its support to the advancement of downtown and to provide civic and business input to promote economic vitality.
The committee, which will meet quarterly, had its first meeting last week – the members all showed great enthusiasm. We look forward to sharing the outcomes, and thank co-chairs Alex Molinaroli, Greg Wesley and Linda Gorens-Levey for their leadership, and John Daniels for originating the idea of the committee. We know that Milwaukee is at the edge of something great, and we hope you’ll join us in being a part of the positive changes being made.
Greater Milwaukee Committee