Happy New Year, Milwaukee.
Allow me to offer seven quick ideas that could continue to push the envelope and make Milwaukee a better city in 2007.
Many are simple and easy to implement.
Become an evangelist for Milwaukee
Add the name "Milwaukee" to your work presentations, Web sites and promotional materials. Talk about the city with pride and optimism. Be proud and let others know that Milwaukee is home to your business, your family and your life. Stand up for our city, and people if you are from a suburb, you are from Milwaukee. When traveling no one cares about New Berlin, we are all Milwaukeeans. We know that a city is only as good as the story it tells. And we have a great story to tell. Tell it more in 2007.
Light up and/or paint the Kilbourn Tunnel
Have you driven though the Kilbourn Tunnel lately? It's dark, dank and generally looks horrible. How about lighting it up inside with cool neon or just painting it with a funky "graffiti-style design? As a gateway to Downtown, it needs a makeover. Wisconsin DOT, make it happen!
Get out of the office more
For your next staff meeting, take employees your team to a new restaurant, bar, club or coffeehouse. Hold your meeting at the Milwaukee Art Museum or one of the numerous art galleries in town. The downtown neighborhoods are more alive and vibrant than many give them credit for. By taking your staff out of its typical environment for a meeting, you can spur creativity and foster a better sense of a team, not to mention make yourself look good and in the know.
Try a restaurant you've never been to
Milwaukee is blessed with a bounty of wonderful restaurants. Many of them are independents and locally-owned. Dine out at more of them this year. Better yet, make a list of 12 establishments that you'd like to try. That way, the answer to "where should we go for dinner?" becomes easier. For years I've had El Rey Sol, 2338 W. Forest Home Ave., on my list. We went last week and I loved it.
Talk back to our stories and start an OMC blog
We like to think of ourselves as a community. As a social media pioneers, this year we continue to invite you to post your Readers Blogs about all topics Milwaukee. Registering is free and just takes a few clicks. You can upload a bio, photo and more. Your OnMilwaukee.com Member ID, the same account the lets you sign up for OMC e-mail newsletters and contests, is also what you'll use to post our famous Talkbacks. It's very easy and fun, and it's your responsibility as a Milwaukeean: http://www.onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/user/login
Slow down traffic and convert it to two-way on Wells Street in Downtown
This one is personal. Downtown Milwaukee needs to become more pedestrian friendly. Too many one-way streets hurt business, put walkers in harm's way and fail to create the type of density that a downtown neighborhood needs. One simple step, Milwaukee, is to convert Wells Street to a two-way street. Doing so will get people into and out of the city easier, showcase the city better and generally make for a better flow in my neighborhood. If nothing else, please slow down as you use Wells St. for your morning or evening commute.
Meet someone new every month
Put it on your schedule to have breakfast or at least a cup of coffee or a beer monthly with someone totally different than you -- someone from a different profession, different age category, different neighborhood -- whatever. Better relationships and stronger understanding lead to creativity, innovation and more business and community involvement opportunities.
Onward, Milwaukee. And always, On Milwaukee!
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.