If you missed last week's "Top Global Trends Affecting Downtowns" breakfast at The Pfister you missed a lot. The event, presented by Milwaukee Downtown, the Business Improvement District serving the greater Downtown neighborhood, was high energy, upbeat and strategic.
Downtown Milwaukee is the economic and creative heart of the state. As it goes, Wisconsin goes. Make no mistake about it. So, Brad Segal, founder and president of Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.) – a consulting firm providing management, marketing and financial services to advance downtown and community development; presented "The Top Ten Global Trends Affecting Downtowns and How To Respond in Milwaukee" at this symposium held at The Pfister Hotel on May 17.
The event also introduced a new mission and vision for Milwaukee Downtown. It's one that I can say I had a small part in and am very proud of. The new mission is this, "We lead and inspire believers in Milwaukee to engage in efforts to build Downtown as the thriving, sustainable, innovative and vibrant heart of the community."
Our Downtown's new vision? "Milwaukee Downtown is an economic catalyst. Downtown emerges as a premier destination of choice. Milwaukee becomes a renowned world-class city." Boom! These are great. Hats off to executive director Beth Nicols and her board and committees (yes, I am a member). These are big and bold. It's what Downtown and Milwaukee need.
Back to the event. The in-depth hour long session reviewed demographic, lifestyle and economic shifts that are changing American cities. These include the emergence of young professional women in the workplace, shifts in transportation and mobility (driving is declining, real estate in walkable areas is rising), an increase in healthier food options including urban farming, continued desires for interesting entertainment (the consultant was adamant that Downtown needed a new, modern sports and entertainment arena) and the rise of a planetary middle class.
You can review the findings and full presentation at the bottom of the organization's home page.
Bottom line is that our Downtown has great structure, and poised to grow up quickly. It needs modern transit (yes, streetcar), innovative collaboration, positive leadership and citizen and business believers like the 200+ who attended last week's meeting.
Personally I'm excited for our Downtown's future and you should be, too.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.