Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton will host a news conference Wednesday morning, May 4, at 10 a.m., to launch his new effort to eliminate severely blighted properties in Milwaukee’s central city.
The news conference will take place at 4051 N. 27th St. at the site of the old Citation plant buildings (located just north of Capitol Drive and south of West Hope Avenue).
The new blight-fighting endeavor – dubbed "Out of Harm’s Way" – will advocate public/private partnerships that will demolish abandoned, dangerous and unsanitary properties in the city’s Promise Zones and make way for new growth, opportunity and a renewed sense of safety in the city.
Promise Zones are areas throughout the city which have been identified by President Hamilton and other elected officials. It has been determined that these zones are more likely to be targeted by criminal behavior and overwhelmed by poverty, unemployment and homelessness. The Citation property is located in one of these zones.
"We are striving to eliminate severely damaged properties in the city that have served as hiding places for criminal behavior, and we plan to get our community out of harm’s way from threats like vandalism, theft and intimidation," President Hamilton said.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is expected to attend Wednesday’s news conference. "Rebuilding communities and making our neighborhoods safer and more prosperous should always be a team effort," County Executive Abele said.
"I applaud Council President Ashanti Hamilton's leadership in addressing blighted properties around the City of Milwaukee. While I've known and admired Ashanti's work for years, even I was impressed with how quickly he sought to work with partners, like the County, in tackling issues that matter to us all. This is a great sign that real change can happen when everyone works together," County Executive Abele said.
The property where President Hamilton will speak on Wednesday is a prime example of his effort to partner with the private sector to eliminate blighted properties located in the city’s Promise Zones. President Hamilton joined forces with Phoenix Investors last fall when the Milwaukee-based industrial real estate firm’s property next door was being targeted by criminal activity coming directly from the Citation property.
Phoenix now owns the Citation property, after teaming up with President Hamilton and the city to take ownership. Their intent is to demolish its multiple vacant buildings, which were shielding criminal behavior.
President Hamilton said the site was unsafe and was a staging area for criminals looking to commit criminal acts on neighboring businesses and properties.
"We observed evidence of criminal activity, drug use and even some burn areas used to melt stolen copper," President Hamilton said.
Phoenix Investors is working on plans to redevelop the property now that it has taken sole ownership. Demolition on its abandoned industrial buildings began in April, and the entire property will be razed by the end of this month. In the meantime, Phoenix just inked a deal with Briggs & Stratton to occupy a majority of its newly redeveloped property next door.