The ongoing effort to raise funds to illuminate the Hoan Bridge, which spans Jones Island and the Milwaukee harbor, connecting Downtown to Bay View, has raised another $500,000 of its more than $4 million goal.
In December, the Dohmen Company Foundation contributed a $250,000 challenge grant and Light the Hoan managed to more than exceed that amount in matching funds in just a week.
Reaching the funding milestone has allowed the group to begin ordering LED lighting for the bridge. The next milestone comes in April, and the group’s goal is to have the bridge illuminated in time for the Democratic National Convention, to be held here in July.
Light the Hoan has raised more than $2.5 million so far.
"To start off the new year with this kind of momentum is extremely exciting," said Light the Hoan co-founder Michael Hostad.
"We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the backing of our donors and look to gain even greater support as we head into these next three critical months of fundraising, when the future of our region stands firmly in the spotlight."
The campaign kicked off in 2018.
"The Hoan Bridge is an iconic Milwaukee landmark, yet the structure isn’t being used to its full potential," said an unnamed Dohmen spokesperson in a Light the Hoan press release Thursday.
"When we think about the attraction of cities, both large and small, we expect a certain level of liveliness to accompany downtown areas. As all eyes will soon be on Milwaukee, our first impression matters."
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 an episode of TV's "Party of Five," 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.