Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Milwaukee's New Master Plan: Exciting Times

This description of another great revival in the offing in Milwaukee is hugely exciting.

Developments on or near Pere Marquette Park, King Drive, the Intermodal Station, W. Broadway and all, I am sure.

One thing leads to another, as it already has.

Add in a modern streetcar system to tie it together - - with access from Chicago and Madison on high speed trains - - and you've really got something cooking here.

If you honor cities and love Milwaukee, you can do nothing but read this news and cheer - - and commit to participating in what will surely be a lengthy, participatory process.

A city like Milwaukee, land-locked by a short-sighted legislature decades ago, was forced to constantly reinvest and reinvent, and I see in these ambitions plans that Mayor Tom Barrett and his team are 100% engaged in that process.

I've seen this sort of promise and enthusiasm and results before.

Paul Soglin helped bring about Madison's modern downtown, including the Capitol Square, the State Street Mall and new housing that put full-time residents and their synergy into a commercial and business district.

John Norquist remade Milwaukee's downtown and other neighborhoods nearby. He first talked to me about a job in 1991 - - five years before I accepted the offer - - and to sell it walked me through empty buildings and desolate streets in what is now the maturing Third and Firth Wards.

He told me at that time that in a few years, all those abandoned warehouses and factories would be lofts and condos and shops because people would be moving there to be near the water, theaters, Summerfest and their jobs - - all accessible on foot, by bike or bus.

I thought he was nuts.

He was right and I was wrong.

So here comes another big Milwaukee redefinition and amplification, and all I see is opportunity and more success.

And thanks to Tom Daykin for another great story translating what might be wonky details into an important piece of journalism.

And some of you think you don't need newspapers anymore.

Who's nuts now?

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