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Historic Third Ward : Milwaukee IDA!

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What the heck?  While walking to the Midwest Airlines Convention Center a gentleman, who was 50 feet away from me started pointing to the sidewalk and saying “This goes on for blocks!” I guess I hadn’t noticed the bloody foot print before this….  I was miffed by this left footed foot print that did stain the whole stretch of the sidewalk.  Back to the this story later….

After registering in the Convention Centre, I headed to my first walking tour of the Third Ward.  Yes!  The same Third Ward I discovered last night.  Nancy O’Keefe, the Executive Director, was our tour guide and was very knowledgeable of the area’s history, and current operations.  We were dropped off at the Public Market and we walked around the corner to Lela, a trendy clothing store where we met the owners and were provided wth information and breakfast treats.

The owner explained that the space used to be a tomato warehouse and that it took a little convincing to get the space renovated but conceeded.  Lela was holding a fashion show that night and had a huge tent setup in the street in front of the shop.  I checked out the clothes and the were very cool but unforunately like any cool clothes, they were made for some other body type than mine :(
We then went over to the river side to a small park area called the Watershed.  Ths is one of the parks used to house the one of the entrances to the huge sewage tunnel built a few years ago.  Milwaukee built a large tunnel deep under the riverbank and this area has been reclaimed into a small parkette along the rverwalk.

We then proceeded down the Riverwalk within the Third Ward.  Many of the old warehouses have been converted to mixed use. High end condos above specialty pubs, restaurants and other businesses.  My only concern is how do you repopulate an area like the Third Ward with only high scale apartments or condos without including real amenities such as a a grocery, drug store or even corner stores?  I’ll explain the pricing of the condos and apartments in an other blog. 

image I will mention that you need to diversify your living accommodations to make a community vibrant and the Third Ward could be an awesome place if Milwaukee did have accommodations for the student of the Milwaukee Insitute of Art and Design (MIAD).  In Halifax we have The Nova Scotia School of Art and Design (NSCAD) and many of the students live close to the campuses which are located Downtown.  Their spontaneous happenings, ecological sensivity, and vibrancy make my neighbourhood, and the District a fun exciting place for both the young and old residents.
This is not something I dreamt up.  Richard Florida’s Book “Rise of the Creative Class” preaches this ideology.  Creativity breathes life into our communities.  People are attracted to the buzz.  Artists, musicians, dancers all make an area buzzy. Creating affordable accommodations for such a creative class is imperative.
I fear that it will be incredibly challenging for the Third Ward if they do not adopt such a concept and with the economic conditions facing the USA, this may cause their great ideas for rejuventation to stall.
Neighbourhoods need to house the amenities the residents require to live!  Groceries, banks and drug stores need to be part of this area.  While working on HRM by Design this was proven to be an imperative component to urban design.  As Lewis Mumford stated:
“In a neighbourhood, everything that is needed is there and everything that is there is needed”.

HRM By Design has 5 campaigns that could aid the Third Ward and all of the downtown areas of Milwaukee with its future in attracting more businesses and residents:

  1. A Sustainable City  ( Milwaukee needs to work on this – recycling programs for solid waste)
  2. A City of Liveable and Complete Neighbourhoods (Milwaukee must adopt this)
  3. A Distinct and Unique City (Milwaukee has great character and is doing a great job of building it!)
  4. A City of Vibrant and Exciting Places (Milwaukee has many components – keep it up!)
  5. A Beautiful City (Milwaukee does have beauty, keep it up!

Oh!  forgot to finish the story about the “bloody footprint” !  Supposedly there was a shooting Friday night but there was no mention  during the conference.  Moreover the footprint trail was cleaned up by Noon.

Source: http://dawnsloane.blogspot.com/2009/09/two-tours-one-day-milwaukee-ida.html

About Dawn Sloane

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The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.

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