Just over two years ago, Mayor Tom Barrett assembled a task force to galvanize the revitalization of West Wisconsin Avenue. Over the decades, the major thoroughfare of downtown Milwaukee has fallen into disrepair with respect to its original purpose as a primary retail district for the city.
Supported by the ArtPlace grant, members of this task force, along with other key stakeholders from the area, met for a two-day strategic planning session in June. The group left with several long- and short-term plans for the redevelopment of West Wisconsin Avenue. Most importantly and surprisingly, the task force realized that the gaps in development that exist on the street are simply pockets of potential for what the future of this city holds.
The ArtPlace grant and the initiation of the ‘Creational Trails Project was well-timed with respect to several of the takeaways from the two-day session, including the need to reactivate the space through artist involvement, increase in vibrancy and accessibility to the community. With a newly activated group of core constituents from the avenue, the launch of the public art request for proposals and plans for the community events in the coming year were enthusiastically accepted and encouraged by the larger group. We hope to capitalize on this support as we formalize our plans for the Avenue.
As the planning process continues for ‘Creational Trails, the neighborhood is ready and waiting for the use of a creative placemaking approach to reignite the long-troubled and beloved West Wisconsin Avenue.