By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 07, 2022 at 11:50 AM

The Department of City Development and Milwaukee Downtown BID#21 host a Downtown Plan 2040 update open house Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the 3rd St Market Hall, in the former Grand Avenue Mall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The public meeting will show conceptual designs for a future Milwaukee and gather public feedback and input.

There will be draft conceptual designs on view for three projects that are currently being discussed, including:

  • Landscaping, wider sidewalks, bike lane upgrades and more on West Kilbourn Avenue.
  • Reconfiguration of Water Street to add protected bike lanes, trees, wider sidewalks and a bus lane; a stormwater median on Juneau Avenue and more.
  • Improvements to Cathedral Square Park, including a new fountain, a pavilion, a permanent stage, event tent, hardscape area and more.

These concepts – which you can see below – notes DCD, are works in progress and will need more planning, study and input.

Organizers have also assembled seven “big ideas” in the plan and they are:

  • Grow Downtown (double the Downtown population)
  • Redesign our streets (enhanced walkability, bike facilities and transit)
  • Invest in our parks and public spaces
  • Create and connect vibrant places
  • Repair the urban fabric (infill development and urban restoration)
  • Connect to the Water (Riverwalk and lakefront and green infrastructure)
  • Connect to the neighborhoods (streetcar extensions and improved public realm along key corridors)

The Downtown Plan 2040 is an update to the 2010 Downtown Area Plan, which included projects like the Deer District and the North End, as well as efforts to better connect Downtown and the Third Ward.

The goal of the plan is, according to the project website, “to shape the next two decades of development, policies, and programs that enable a more walkable, vibrant, diverse, inclusive and resilient Downtown.”

The event is the third of four planned public meetings regarding the Downtown Plan. An online open house is also being planned and details can be found at engagemke.com/connectingmke.

At the second public meeting, held in May, according to a release from DCD, “participants were asked to engage around several topics including housing, business, retail, art and culture, public space, transportation, development, and sustainability. At the upcoming meeting, we will revisit these same topics, and we now have recommendations for each.

“A total of 46 recommendations so far, organized across nine topics, will be presented. The recommendations are general in nature and most can apply across the plan area. Feedback at the meeting will be used to refine the recommendations and create ‘supporting policies and strategies’ that will go into greater detail regarding each recommendation.”

Some of the kinds of questions the organzers want the public to consider are:

  • Are there streets you like to walk or bike on? Streets that you would like to see improved for this?
  • Is there an area that you like to shop, eat, or visit?
  • Types of shopping or restaurants or entertainment you would like to see?
  • Is there an area where you would like to see new development or redevelopment opportunities?
  • Are there parks that you like to visit? Do they serve your needs?
  • Anything else you would like to share about Downtown

The first meeting was held last December.

Consultants working on the plan include The Kubala Washatko Architects, HNTB, American Design, Inc., and raSmith on the design side and P3 Development, which is working on equity and engagement.

Cathedral Square Park

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West Kilbourn Avenue

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Water Street

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Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.