Leaders from several of Milwaukee’s largest business, education and non-profit organizations today announced the formation of Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP), an organization with a mission to revitalize and sustain the Near West Side as a thriving business and residential corridor through collaborative efforts to promote economic development, improved housing, unified neighborhood identity and branding, and greater safety for residents and businesses.
"On behalf of all participating organizations, we are excited to announce the formation of the Near West Side Partners organization," said Rana Altenburg, vice president of public affairs at Marquette University and president of the NWSP Board of Directors. "By collaborating across our organizations, we are confident we can make a positive impact on the Near West Side neighborhood and create an even more vibrant place in which to work, live and play."
The formation of NWSP is an outgrowth of the Near West Side CEO Symposium – a meeting of the leadership of the largest employers and organizations on Milwaukee’s Near West Side hosted by Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell and convened by Marquette University President Michael Lovell in October 2014.
Organizations that have pledged support and involvement in NWSP include some of our community’s leading business, non-profit and civic organizations with a presence in the Near West Side, including Aurora Health Care, Avenues West Association, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors, Potawatomi Business Development Corp. and Wiegand Enterprises, among others.
"The creation of the Near West Side Partners is an exciting opportunity for our community as a whole," said Keith Stanley, executive director of Avenues West Association / BID. "Our neighborhood has made good progress over the last few years, and the commitment of some of Milwaukee’s largest employers will help us move our part of Milwaukee to even greater heights."
With direction from the Steering Committee and Board of Directors, the NWSP will include four active working teams in the areas of safety, housing, neighborhood identity and branding, and commercial development. NWSP will focus on an area bounded roughly by I-43 to the east, I-94 to the south, Highway 41 to the west and on the north, Vliet Street west of 27th Street and the north side of Highland Avenue east of 27th Street.
The Steering Committee is looking at best practices for neighborhood improvement, both from within Milwaukee – especially the Menomonee Valley – and from cities across the country. Members of the Steering Committee will be visiting four target cities in February and March to research and apply best practices from other successful improvement projects.
"We already have tremendous assets and great momentum within the Near West Side," Alternburg said. "We are confident that by bringing together organizations and individuals from across our neighborhood, we can make a real difference in our shared community."
In the coming months, NWSP anticipates it will be able to make announcements regarding new initiatives and in-progress efforts in each of its four focus areas.