NEWaukee released its findings today that show overwhelming support among its 190,000 followers for Milwaukee County’s sale of O’Donnell Park to Northwestern Mutual, which has committed to immediate upgrades and improvements to the parking structure and public spaces.
NEWaukee followers also shared ideas about what could happen next at the park.
"We were proud to tap into our network to gather input on ways to create attractive and active public space for the whole community to enjoy," says Angela Damiani, president of NEWaukee. "We’re excited to see how the collected ideas influence O’Donnell’s future. We’ve also encouraged our subscribers to voice their opinions to their county supervisors."
The O’Donnell Park Spotlight was a candid conversation in which NEWaukee invited the community and its followers to participate in the O’Donnell discussion. This included several meetings at the park and an Internet submission form where the public could send their ideas for Northwestern Mutual to review.
Hundreds of people participated in the on-line process and 96 percent of them say they support selling and enhancing O’Donnell Park.
"These are moments of truth for the community in the eyes of our subscribers," Damiani says. "Can we dare to be great? It’s painful to think of O’Donnell being status quo for decades to come with all the great things now happening at the lakefront."
The ideas compiled include both programmatic suggestions and infrastructure changes for the park. Recurring themes include improvements to seating, lighting, green spaces and pathways. Several submissions suggested programs with strong art and music elements as well as food and beverage selections.
"We wanted to tap into the creativity of NEWaukee and its network to start brainstorming how O’Donnell might become a great space for Milwaukee," says Sandy Botcher, Northwestern Mutual vice president and leader of its Tower and Commons project. "NEWaukee has done a fantastic job of showing us the energy behind our proposal and the creativity that exists within these young community leaders. Hopefully, ideas such as these will have the chance to come to life."
A full list of idea submissions is here.
The Milwaukee County Board is expected to vote on the sale Thursday.