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Riverworks Newsletter - August 2022 Edition

Riverworks Newsletter - August 2022

Greeting Friends and Neighbors:

Riverworks Development Corporation is excited to announce our second annual Beerline Shuffle event that will take place on Saturday, October 1st, and we would like to personally invite YOU and your family, friends, and colleagues to participate.

What is the Beerline Shuffle? The Beerline Shuffle is a one-of-a-kind community walk meant to inspire residents to get active, get creative, and get engaged. This event includes a 3-mile walk, a collaborative art project, activities for all ages, food and drinks, mobile and stationary musical performances, and a market of local food and craft vendors.

How do I register? Click on the button below to register by September 17th. Registration is $15 per adult and $10 per child (toddlers two & under are free!). Registration includes a t-shirt, lots of swag, complimentary ice cream from Scratch Ice Cream, participation in all activities, and more!

Are there other ways I can participate? We have lots of other ways that we would love to partner with you for the event! We are looking for sponsors, in-kind donors, partnering non-profits, and more! If you are looking for ways to participate, please contact Debbie Powers.


Creative Placemaking on the Beerline Trail

Watermarks, Guiding Lens and Other Partners Activate the Beerline!

Riverworks' partnership with Watermarks is connecting neighbors, artists, and stakeholders to share their stories and bring awareness to water-related issues through the arts. Through this partnership, we have hosted two community walks and a spoken word picnic lead by resident-selected artists Kavon Cortez Jones and David Najib Kasir. Each Artist was accompanied by community engagement specialist, Ruth Weill, and water science expert, Cheryl Nenn, of Milwaukee Riverkeeper. With support from Watermarks, the community will create an art piece for the neighborhood accompanied by a "Watermarker" - an illuminated letter to signal a water related event to residents and encourage individual action to protect Milwaukee’s waterways.

Riverworks is dedicated to working with community residents, businesses and other stakeholders to build power within the neighborhoods we serve. The resident-led Guiding Lens group continues to prove community leadership by partnering with Riverworks and executing monthly clean ups on the Beerline Trail, accompanied by community-based art projects. The next clean up is on Wednesday, August 3rd from 6:00 - 7:30pm. The Guiding Lens will be creating new wayfinding signage to bring further awareness to the Beerline Trail and the future development of the B-Line Park.

Riverworks Development Corporation was thrilled to host a bonus checkpoint for the Riverwest 24 Community Ride and Race with partners Ephesians Missionary Baptist Church, International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, City of Milwaukee Police Department, DreamBikes, Wisconsin Bike Fed, and St. Marcus School. Riders and volunteers came out in droves in the hot morning sun to wrench on approximately 75 children’s bicycles, all of which were given away to kids in the community later that day. It was a meaningful and memorable experience, which brought together residents from Harambee and Riverwest and helped to build the future generation of urban cyclists. Riverworks would like to thank all the donors who generously contributed bikes, the riders who volunteered their time, and the dedicated employees and volunteers from our partner organizations.


Neighborhood Engagement

Harambee Quality of Life Plan is Gaining Positive Momentum!

During the Northcott Neighborhood House 51st Juneteenth Celebration, Harambee residents were asked what they liked about the community and where there was room for improvement in the next three to five years. Unlike a traditional resident input form, Harambee resident responses were captured in a live illustration! Sherrill Knezel, owner of Meaningful Marks and professional illustrator, grabbed the attention of many festival attendees with her out-of-the-box way of compiling conventional data. Sherrill’s final product will be reflected on throughout the planning and implementation process of the Harambee Quality of Life Plan. This is just the beginning of working with Harambee and really listening to their wants and needs for the future.

The Harambee Quality of Life Plan (QLP) Steering Committee met for the first time in-person to strengthen the cohesion among the members, recharge, and start strategizing for the next phase of the plan: resident engagement. Pictured above, Seva Gandhi, QLP consultant, worked with the steering committee to provide a historical scan of the Harambee neighborhood that provided a deep look into successes and barriers experienced, but also highlighted how partnering organizations had to pivot and test their individual creativity to continue the positive momentum within Harambee.

As more develops through the backend of the plan, be sure to be on the lookout for Harambee Quality of Life Plan partnering events such as block parties, lot-activation days, community visioning sessions, and more! If you are a Harambee resident or stakeholder and interested in learning more about the plan and/or want to stay up to date on the Harambee Quality of Life Plan, please contact Sara Czarnecki-Reynolds.


Small Business & Entrepreneurial Resources

Emerging Entrepreneurs & Businesses Coming to the Community

Our monthly Business Spotlights highlight the amazing businesses that are already up and running. The Business Development HUB team wants to take this opportunity to recognize some of the emerging entrepreneurs that are currently working their way through the planning stage of their businesses. From business plan reviews to budgeting sessions, to securing grants/funding connections and everything in between, the Business Development HUB team is working with some inspiring Milwaukee talent! These emerging entrepreneurs are tackling issues of mental health through positive social/networking platforms (BU-Social) and personalized healing therapies (Different Shades of Healing). They are creating safe spaces and providing resources and support for individuals who have been homeless (The Ark @ A Lady and Her Things), part of the foster care system (Create Me Colorful), and those who just need a little bit of help getting on their feet (Carrie’s Place of Grace). They are trailblazing industries in which they are underrepresented while creating training opportunities to bring the next generation with them (Sampson’s Metal-Ink), and much, much more. This is just a small glimpse into the excellence that the Business Development HUB team has the privilege of coaching. We are eager to witness the heights these incredible entrepreneurs will reach and their lasting impact on our city.

Keep an eye out for upcoming businesses coming to the Harambee & Riverwest neighborhoods! One such business, Lush Popcorn, started in 2014; they have been operating out of Sherman Phoenix, but have recently secured a new building to expand their business. Another business, Kuumba Juice & Coffeehouse, was established in 2022 and will be moving into the upcoming Connector Building; they will offer an array of fresh juices and coffees specially curated by the Kuumba team. Stay tuned for more information and updates as their plans unfold


Extraordinary Care from the Financial Clinic

Partnerships Create Lasting Impact on Milwaukee Communities

Riverworks’ Financial Clinic doesn’t look at the challenges facing the community as obstacles, but as opportunities. Opportunities to create change, spur growth, and change the trajectory of our youth, our neighborhoods, and our city. The Financial Clinic aims to do this by tirelessly sharing financial knowledge and resources via workshops, resource fairs, webinars, school and employment presentations, and one-on-one financial coaching. Because finance is personal, Financial Clinic staff know there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so they aim to be flexible in their outreach and coaching to make the greatest impact possible. Riverworks sees the gaps in wealth, housing, transportation, etc. and aims to close those gaps through joint efforts with strategic partners. One prime example of leveraging joint efforts to impact the community is the US Bank Access Home Partnership. Under the sponsorship of US Bank, Riverworks is working with a consortium of community organizations, including Acts Housing, La Causa, Milwaukee Urban League, and Safe & Sound, to increase Black home ownership as well as financial literacy, access, and awareness.


Riverworks Cleans

Keepin' it CLEAN this summer!

Riverworks Cleans Crew is keeping busy this summer. So far this year our crews have completed 724 City of Milwaukee work orders in Harambee and neighboring areas, removing 2,777 cubic yards of illegally dumped debris. If any of our neighbors, residents or business owners, have any unwanted items they are looking to dispose of, please do not hesitate to contact John Cervantes at 414-882-7424. We will make sure your unwanted items are disposed of correctly at a price you can’t beat.

Our guys are also staying busy servicing seven Milwaukee Business Improvement Districts. Our crews make sure the litter is picked up, remove graffiti, empty trash receptacles, and return shopping carts. We also added a new part time position to help keep Capitol Drive clean this summer, here in the Riverworks BID. If you see our guys, make sure to say high and help them out by disposing of your waste correctly and returning your shopping carts.

Finally, we are currently taking applications for one spot on the Cleans Crew. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in this opportunity, please visit the Join Our Team page on our website for more details.


Shout Out to Our Supporters!

Our Gratitude to LISC & Congrats Javon!

AmeriCorps member and Quality of Life Plan Support Coordinator, Javon Dean, wrote and received a $1,500 grant through LISC! Javon has been with Riverworks a little over a year and has been instrumental throughout the Harambee Quality of Life Plan development process. During the LISC AmeriCorps conference, Javon was given the opportunity to apply for funding that would support his work within the Harambee community. Javon, a Harambee resident himself, added a twist on a traditional block party concept which won over LISC leadership as they reviewed his grant application. Javon wanted to empower his block to reclaim the area, showing a few trouble houses that “This is my community. This is MY Harambee.” MY Harambee Block Party will invite area residents to join one another for an afternoon of fun, food, and new friendships. But here’s the twist, Javon wanted all residents to receive a safety kit in addition to the free family fun. Resident safety kits will include a flood lamp, residential door alarm, and door latches which will alleviate the financial burden or accessibility barriers some residents may face trying to address safety concerns at their home.

Thank you LISC Milwaukee for continued support through the AmeriCorps program, as well as supporting Riverworks' Neighborhood Development initiatives!


30 Stories for 30 Years: This year marks 30 years of Riverworks Development Corporation's efforts to support residents and businesses in Harambee, Riverwest, and the surrounding communities. We have been honored to be at the table with a great variety of local and national partners and supporters, and look forward to continuing to serve this community with you all for many years to come. Please follow along with us throughout 2022 as we share stories and memories from the past three decades. .


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