The City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development is partnering with Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 to co-lead updates to the Downtown Area Plan. The revised plan, “Connec+ing MKE 2040,” will include strategic updates to the 2010 plan that will guide land use decisions, redevelopment of key sites, and improvements to streets and public spaces over the next 10-20 years.
After an RFQ process for Equity & Engagement Services and Urban Design Services, the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 selected P3 Development Group to lead the Downtown Community Council and support equity and engagement for the planning process. The Kubala Washatko Architects (TKWA), HNTB, American Design, Inc. (ADI), and raSmith have also been hired for the urban design services. As the plan’s name suggests, downtown’s accessibility and connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods will be a key focus.
“Milwaukee experienced a major renaissance following the Downtown Area Plan’s adoption in 2010. Looking at how far we’ve come is inspiring, but we know there’s more to do in ensuring Downtown is a place for every resident, in every neighborhood, to feel welcome and connected to our city,” said DCD Commissioner Lafayette Crump. “The time is now to plan for Milwaukee’s growth and future. I’m looking forward to building up our Downtown to ensure it is stronger, more equitable, and easily accessible to every Milwaukeean.”
The last Downtown Area Plan identified several major developments critical to downtown’s growth. These catalytic projects included: the addition of a fixed-rail streetcar system; the revitalization of Wisconsin Avenue; new circulation patterns, development and public spaces at the Lakefront Gateway; building a strong Broadway Connection to better link the central business district to the Historic Third Ward; developing the area around Pere Marquette Square with residential, commercial and entertainment uses; enhancing the Station Plaza/Milwaukee Intermodal Station area; improving accessibility to the underutilized MacArthur Square; and developing the Haymarket area into a mixed-use neighborhood with a public square. Over the last decade, more than $3.5 billion has been invested in completed private and public projects and more than $2.5 billion is currently under construction or proposed to start soon.
“While many of the recommendations and catalytic projects called for in the 2010 plan have been implemented or are in progress, the 2010 Downtown Area Plan is still very relevant,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. “We’re looking at this next iteration as a refresh of that plan, with some strategic updates to better position the central business district for growth and investment.”
The “Connec+ing MKE 2040” plan is expected to be released in 2022. A website featuring community engagement opportunities will soon be launched. In the meantime, questions and comments can be sent to DowntownPlan@milwaukee.gov.