Building a better Bay View through community
Stephanie Harling loves Bay View. Born and raised there, Harling has watched the area break out of the pack and grow into one of the city's most sought-after locales on both the retail and residential levels.
Now, as the Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) president, Harling is doing what she can to showcase this South Side sector of Milwaukee the way she's seen it for years -- as truly a city inside of a city.
As the BVNA prepares for its annual meeting on Feb. 19, Harling discusses the many ways Bay View is moving forward and setting the stage for a new year with temporary public art, the "greening" of its retail hub, community volunteerism and improved neighborhood safety.
As a definite sign of growth and prosperity, Bay View has made a commitment to bolstering art initiatives.
"The BVNA is collaborating with IN:SITE -- an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for temporary public art in Milwaukee County -- on a series of temporary public art installations for the area for spring '07," says Harling.
IN:SITE sponsored projects are open to all artists, both emerging, experimental and established, with or without gallery representation, to contribute to the creative vitality of a neighborhood.
So far, at least four Bay View sites have committed to IN:SITE projects, including the Avalon Theater, 2473 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.; Wildflour Bakery at 422 E. Lincoln Ave.; an empty storefront at 2219 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. and the Oasis Coffee lot - known locally as the "Gateway to Bay View" -- 300 E. Bay St.
Harling says that one of the hottest topics for this year's meeting focuses on the "green steps" they are taking in the Kinnickinnic Avenue triangle (at Lincoln and Howell Avenues) and bus shelter.
"(We) are collaborating with the Bay View Garden and Yard Society and the City of Milwaukee to remove the concrete from the triangles and plant urban gardens," she says, adding that the ground breaking for the first triangle is in April.
"We are currently researching ideas for replacement of the current bus shelter for something more customized to Bay View's identity. Our objective is to develop a bus shelter and gardens that will assist in managing storm water run off."
Some of the best news, however, is that the Bay View is proving itself as a revitalization success story.
"I think the most obvious growth can be found in the many new businesses that have located in Bay View and the renaissance of the Kinnickinnic retail corridor," says Harling. "The increased density with new families investing in the neighborhood and the new residential developments are a sign of a healthy, growing sustainable community. Economic statistics of the neighborhood show increased property values, and an increase in consumer buying power in Bay View."
The BVNA seeks to improve the quality of life for Bay View Area residents by leading unique initiatives and partnering with other, existing organizations to achieve community goals.
This Sunday, Feb. 11 they partner with Milwaukee County Parks for "Winter Fun in Bay View" from 1 to 4 p.m. at the South Shore Pavilion.
"The community supports events like the Winter Fun, Humboldt Park Concert Series, Farmer's Market, BVBASH, community gardens, artist events and much more," says Harling. "Bay View is also home to over 25 community volunteer organizations as will be seen at the Winter Fun event.
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