Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Government Gets It Right: An MMSD Case Study

Lord knows I beat the hell out of government entities when they ignore constituents and thus screw things up, so it's a pleasure to take note of an example of an agency getting it right.

In this case, it's the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's plan to go way beyond mere flood prevention programming along the Kinnickinnic River on Milwaukee's south side by a) deconstructing and recycling the materials in buildings that will be torn down, b) hiring and training people in the deconstruction and preservation processes, and c) continuing to emphasize community involvement in all phases of the project.

Details are here in the request for proposal, (RFP) on the MMSD website in an advertisement for a project manager who can meet these community and environmental goals.

It took years for the MMSD to work this out with the community, and an assist from the Sixteenth Street Community Health Clinic and others I know I am omitting.

But the point is that everyone wins with a comprehensive community-first focus like this, and MMSD would be smart to send this initiative around to other agencies where genuine community outreach, with outcomes, remains somewhere between an unfathomable mystery and a matter of institutional, willful neglect.

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