By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 06, 2005 at 5:31 AM

With its neighborhood boons, downtown housing growth, retail gains, performing arts victories and new Public Market, is Milwaukee finally in a true renaissance mode? Are we a city on the move, or is Milwaukee's momentum just a typical swing that all similar-sized cities usually go through? Renaissance, rebirth or rehash? Sound-off now!

E-mail us at and if picked, we'll post your response next Sunday. Only submissions that include your full name and where you live will be considered.

First, here are select responses to last week's Sunday Sound-Off. The question was, "Why did you leave Milwaukee?"

I left Milwaukee when I was in my early twenties because I missed the last bus home one night and had to walk four miles. It was 21 degrees below zero that night with a minus 75 wind chill factor. I wasn't dressed for it. I moved two weeks later to Phoenix, Arizona. I came back to Wisconsin 10 years later because I found out that I could make as much money per hour working for McDonalds here as I could being a pressman in Arizona.
Kevin Marchetti
South Milwaukee

(I moved) because the pay is better in Chicago, I have a job that I love with absolutely awesome benefits. I can't stand the Packers and the Wisconsin "Church of Favre" mentality, plus the much larger dining options, more interesting food and best of all Trader Joes that Chicago offers. Next trick is to get a transfer back home to California...
Edward Thompson
Chicago, Ill.

I didn't want to leave Milwaukee, but I needed to explore the world and stretch my legs outside a city of beer, Brewers and parties. But I know I'll keep coming back home and hopefully one day raise a family there because Milwaukee is a great place to live.
A1C Cesar N. Dusel
United States Air Force
Misawa, Japan

I moved here because of a career opportunity. Being a graduate of MSOE, the company offered to move me down to Florida all-expenses-paid, offered an unbelievable salary, and of course there's the whole semi-tropical climate. Wearing shorts in November while dining outside amongst the palm trees! It just doesn't get any better than this. I still love the Brew City though. I'll definitely own property there soon enough.
Mike Barrile
Orlando, Fla.

With all due respect, Milwaukee is just too darn cold for too long. Nine months of winter weather makes a person think! But my real reason for leaving Milwaukee is lack of diversity, both in body and thought. The surrounding suburbs are extremely vanilla and the attitudes of many are limited to self-righteousness and a know-it-all attitude.
J. Muth

My family left Milwaukee when I was 14, mostly because my mother never liked the city. I am 35 now and live in Wausau. I would love to move back to Milwaukee, but I can't find a reason why. The city has been in a state of decay since the mid-1960s,

and from what I can tell, few seem willing to do what it will take to reverse the trend. When city elders are told the city's has gone downhill, the general reaction is "At least we're better than Detroit."
Robert Johnson

I grew up and went to school in South Milwaukee. I left because I felt my experience and exposure to new ideas and cultures was very limited by the homogeneity surrounding me. I am not Christian, I am gay, and am deeply troubled by people's ignorance. Of course, I miss working-class culture and old buildings. I live in Seattle now and though it is a very beautiful city with lots of different people, it is a bit too upscale for my tastes.
Jamie St. Ledger
Seattle, Wash.

I left Milwaukee to take a job with the federal government, but would like to have stayed there. I worked at an office in Flint, Michigan, transferred to Topeka, Kansas and then moved to Green Bay after getting promoted in 1994.
Mike Gorczany
Green Bay

I moved to Baltimore in 1989 for a full-time job in music. I had been told that Baltimore and Milwaukee are quite a bit alike, but I can attest that this is far from the truth. While it is convenient to be geographically close to such other places as DC, Philly and New York City, Baltimore itself is a self-aggrandizing city with a murder rate that rivals Detroit. I miss my hometown; I've been back to visit three times this year alone. So why don't I move back? Soon, very soon! Milwaukee: you are the BEST!
Robert A. Gee
Baltimore, Md.

It's been five years since I left Milwaukee for Seattle and I miss it everyday. Though I have always traveled a lot I never lived anywhere other than Milwaukee for more than six months. I decided I wanted the experience of actually moving and starting up in a new place. I choose Seattle because it felt like a big Milwaukee. What I've learning is how dynamic, innovative and friendly a place Milwaukee truly is. Our location near so many natural wonders and cultural centers places us at an advantage that other cities don't have. Seattle also has many valuable assets, yet I realized that while Milwaukeeans are a bunch of factory workers, I now live with a bunch of fishermen. Though Seattle is nice and they've done a great job of selling their "myth" is lacks a certain sophistication that one can find in Milwaukee. Believe it or not.
Brad Barndt
Seattle, Wash.

I grew up near Milwaukee, but didn't start living in the city until I went to Marquette and then I stayed for a few years after graduation. I have always loved Milwaukee, but in 1997 I decided I needed to experience living on the East Coast. What I have learned from my experiences in other cities is that Milwaukee is one of the most underrated cities in the country. Moving back to Milwaukee has taken me longer than I expected - and still will take a little while longer -- but it is one promise I fully intend on keeping. Milwaukee is not New York or even Chicago and for that I am grateful. What Milwaukee is, however, is more than just "my" city as I like to refer to it -- it is home.
Michael Kleinmann
Chicago, Ill.

I recently moved back to Milwaukee after living in Ohio for five years. I moved away because of my job and although I had a great job, felt that the city I was living in lacked culture, and the only thing to do was go to a dive-bar. People from Chicago, New York and other bigger cities do not give Milwaukee enough credit. It is a great city, with lots to offer its citizens! From YPM to Jazz in the Park to the numerous hip bars and clubs, there is something for everyone to do. Sure, it gets cold in the winters, so buy some gloves and enjoy all the city has to offer. I absolutely love this city and hate that I was away from it for so long.
Christine McBride

I originally left Milwaukee directly out of high school in 1994 to attend DeVry in Phoenix, Ariz. I mostly did this to escape the cold, dreary Wisconsin weather. Upon my graduation, I was hired by a Semiconductor Capital Equipment company and I have been with that company and in that industry even since. Throughout my 12 years with this company, I have lived in Austin, Minneapolis, Portland and now Orlando. All of these moves have been by my own choice due to open job opportunities in those cities. I have tried several times throughout my career to get back to Milwaukee to be closer to family and friends, but there is a serious lack of technology-based companies in the area.
Jeff Torzala
Mount Dora, Fla.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.