A business and residential alliance looking to create more vibrant commercial corridors on West Burleigh Street and West Lisbon Avenue will hold its kickoff meeting early next week.
Alderman Jim Bohl said the Westown Crossing Association will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Abigail’s Banquet Facility, 8401 W. Burleigh St. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. "Business owners and area residents alike are invited to attend this kickoff meeting, and the active participation of both will be vital to making this partnership organization successful," said Ald. Bohl, who will help host the meeting.
The Westown Crossing Association focus areas are North 68th to North 93rd Streets along West Burleigh and West Lisbon. Ald. Bohl said the Westown Crossing Association is modeled after the East Tosa Alliance, a not-for-profit group that has partnered with adjacent neighborhood associations while working to encourage and advocate for economic sustainability and growth in East Tosa. "The results in East Tosa (along the West North Avenue commercial corridor) have been steady and impressive, with residents of all ages eating at new restaurants and doing business at a range of small, locally-owned businesses," he said.
"The residents have shown a preference for shopping and buying locally in East Tosa, frequenting new and longtime shops and establishments they can easily walk or bike to," Ald. Bohl said. "We are very much looking to create that same vibe with Westown Crossing, along Burleigh and Lisbon."
"This initial meeting on Tuesday will allow us to lay out the initial goals of this new business-community partnership, which would help promote a ‘buy local culture,’ among other ideas," Ald. Bohl said. "This is a unique opportunity to reimagine the Burleigh/Lisbon corridors and to lay out how we would like the revitalization to move forward."
The Burleigh/Lisbon corridors fall within Ald. Bohl’s 5th Aldermanic District and the 10th Alderman District, represented by Ald. Michael J. Murphy. The aldermen last year championed a citizen "needs" survey about area businesses that was conducted by the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development and later held a community meeting for discussion after more than 750 respondents filled out the survey.
Westown Crossing is the result of city leaders meeting with a steering group of local businesses and neighborhood association representatives over the last several months to lay out the parameters of a new business organization with the aim of addressing ongoing issues to revitalize the Burleigh and Lisbon commercial corridors.
Ald. Murphy said the success in East Tosa has been boosted by the input, participation and organization provided by its partner neighborhood associations. He said Westown Crossing features four partnering neighborhood associations – the Kops Park Neighborhood Association, the Enderis Park Neighborhood Association, Cooper Park Neighborhood Association and the Hartung Park Community Association.
"Lisbon and Burleigh are vital, busy commercial corridors, and I believe commercial corridors are windows to our adjacent neighborhoods," said Ald. Murphy, who will also attend Tuesday’s kickoff meeting. "We believe this alliance will provide a means of fostering successful local businesses supported by local residents, and the end result will be a better sense of community and revitalized commercial corridors along Burleigh and Lisbon."