Last December, we offered up 100 New Year's resolutions for a better Milwaukee in 2005. Now that we're into 2006, we took a look back to see which -- if any -- of our wishes came true. (Click here to read the complete original list.)
Sure, some resolutions were pretty lofty (#3: Work toward desegregation), and some might have been a little pie-in-the-sky (#35: Clean up Lake Michigan), and others will simply take more than 365 days to come to fruition (#63: Elect at least one woman to the Common Council).
But according to our estimates, at least nine resolutions came true in 2005. Is that good or bad? You decide.
#1. Build an urban dog park in the city
The Runway Dog Exercise Area, just south of the airport, finally opened on Aug. 16. It was actually scheduled to open a bit earlier, but workers found poison ivy on the expansive grounds and were forced to eradicate it before re-launching. The park, while basically treeless, is huge with gently sloping hills and wood-chipped paths. Urban dog owners and pooches alike give the Runway two thumbs (opposable and otherwise) up.
#14. More direct flights from Mitchell International Airport
As of June 2005, Northwest Airlines offered 13 non-stop destinations leaving Milwaukee, representing a 140 percent increase from the three they offered in 2003. Midwest Airlines also upped its total number of flights by more than 18 percent last year, from 34,253 departures in Nov. 2004 to 42,206 in Nov. 2005.
#29. Improve and clean up our beaches and revamp the Bradford Beach pavilion
OMC was directly involved in this resolution. Friends of Bradford Beach, a group formally supported by Milwaukee County's The Park People, debuted a new rendering of its vision for Bradford Beach and a model of its dramatic new playground and water garden area in July, 2005.
The group, which includes OMC's Jeff Sherman, started a year ago and shares the idea that the lakefront needs an area that is interesting enough to attract kids and families for outdoor play, imagination and discovery. The group is working closely with Milwaukee County to hone plans for a huge playground and water garden near the Bradford Beach Pavilion. James Donnelly of The Design Office is working on designs.
#43. Require the new Brewers owner to spend money to make money
Mark Attanasio has pledged to raise the team's payroll to compete, and in 2005, the Brewers finally snapped 12 consecutive losing seasons with an 81-81 record. Last year, Attanasio spent $42 million on the team (earning a $5 million profit). In 2006, he said he's willing to pony up $50 million to build a winning team. He's finally given General Manager Doug Melvin the tools to go after and retain bigger talent like Carlos Lee, Geoff Jenkins and Ben Sheets, while building a powerful young lineup with Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy.
#45. Bring back the old ball and glove logo
As if the Brewers off-season wasn't good enough by hiring Robin Yount as the Crew's bench coach, Attanasio also unveiled a return to the Brewers retro (and super-cool) ball and glove logo, if only for Sunday home games. After years of lobbying by fans (and from OMC), the Brewers gave us what we wanted. Thanks, Mark.
#56. Find a tenant for the old Coffee Trader on Downer Avenue
The long-vacant spaces at 2625 N. Downer Ave. was finally occupied in 2005, with Ristorante Bartolotta opening this fall, replacing Bartolotta's second Pizzeria Piccola location, and The Original Pancake House announced just before the new year that it will arrive soon, too.
#84. For Pete's sake, can we do the darned Kenilworth Building development already?
While the much-vaunted Kenilworth Building revamp on the East Side seemed a distant dream a year ago, this year workers tore into the two historic buildings on Kenilworth Avenue between Farwell and Prospect Avenues, and the two structures have already been radically transformed. The UWM dorms and retail space are expected to open by autumn 2006, and while that sounded laughable when the hardhats first appeared, the rate of progress has us wondering if it will even take that long.
#95. Pray for a top high school draft pick for the Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks didn't a high school stud, but they did land the top pick in last year's NBA draft. With it, they selected 7-footer Andrew Bogut. Bogut is one of the top rookies in the game, averaging nearly 10 points per game and is tied for third in assists per game among centers. He's one of key pieces in building the Bucks back to championship caliber. So far, so good this season!
#98. Finish the Milwaukee Public Market on time and under budget
The Milwaukee Public Market did open its doors on Oct. 15, although originally was scheduled to open in July (the outdoor portion opened July 16). It has quickly become a major destination and is crowded seemingly all the time. As for budget? The project's goal was to raise $10 million, and it's nearly there. Final figures should be announced in 2006.