By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jun 18, 2013 at 11:19 AM

The sidewalk areas passing under I-794 between the Historic Third Ward and Downtown are dark, gloomy and uninspiring.  

Some may say that’s what freeways and sidewalks are.  They are, if you will, what they are.  Yet this passage way serves as the main gateway between Downtown proper and the Third Ward.  It’s used daily by residents, workers and visitors.  

Even on the brightest and most beautiful day, it’s gloomy.  At night, it’s (of course) even darker and intimidating for many.

Design matters.  Always.  And while there’s been some thought and idea making around how to improve this eyesore there’s been no movement.  Things happen as they should, I know, but it’s time to do something to better activate this dank space.  

Greg Patin from the City of Milwaukee tells me that a recent design contest to "brighten the passage," has momentum and that the City has been "working with WISDOT at regular meeting trying to get the concepts incorporated into the design of the new replacement freeway."  Patin added that he’s "hoping (for) significant impact.  This is good news. 

My thoughts?  Add lighting, a public park, swings (like here), painting, public art, mini soccer fields. dodge ball fields, creative outdoor patios.  Anything, really, would make this area more attractive.

I love Downtown and the Third Ward.  Yet, better connections will help both continue to grow.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.