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Riverworks Newsletter - December 2019 Edition

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

Medalists from the 1st Annual Beerline Trail 5K Run / Walk - September 21, 2019

Riverworks Newsletter - Winter 2019

We are excited to be back on track with our quarterly newsletters. As the end of 2019 nears, we reflect on all of the changes and successes we have had this year. Among our proudest accomplishments so far are:

- We finalized our three-year strategic plan and are beginning to implement those changes;

- The Financial Clinic has worked with 86 clients; 46 have improved their FICO score, 26 have increased their net worth and 7 have become pre-approved to purchase homes;

- Riverworks Neighborhood Development programs helped provide $132,500 in grants for new roofs through the Harambee Neighborhood Investment District (NID); and additional $208,500 was leveraged for critical home repairs in the Harambee neighborhood through connections to City of Milwaukee resources;

- Riverworks secured another national grant of $100,000 from the Kresge Foundation’s FreshLo program to develop a hub for healthy foods and wellness along the Beerline Trail;

- The Riverworks Business Improvement District hosted our most successful Riverworks Week to highlight the growing number of businesses flourishing in the community.

Extraordinary Care from the Financial Clinic

Coming Up: 2020 VITA Tax Season

Throughout 2019, the Financial Clinic has been able to serve many residents within the Harambee and Riverwest areas, along with surrounding communities in the City of Milwaukee. As a result, clients increase their credit scores, net worth, net income, and pre-approvals for homes and other local programs. We are excited by the financial lives of Milwaukee residents transforming and we are able to be offer resources to enrich their trajectories.

The Financial Clinic is gearing up for what promises to be our biggest year for filing taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. We are currently recruiting volunteers to become VITA certified so that we have a team that can work together to help prepare and file taxes for local residents. Food will be provided for volunteers who help file taxes!

Tax preparation starts January 2020. Riverworks offers the following VITA hours: Monday 4 - 7 PM Wednesday 9 - 12 PM Thursday 10 - 4 PM Saturday 9 - 3 PM

"Truth Sculpture" by Beginning Dreams Forever
Volunteers creating platform for an ADA accessible picnic table at the 2nd Street Pocket Park

Neighborhood News

Summer 2019 Recap

With support from the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC) and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF), Riverworks oversaw community improvement projects along the Keefe Avenue corridor in the Harambee neighborhood. The NIDC received a Cities of Service grant, which allowed improvements to the 2nd Street Pocket Park through a program called Love Your Block. These improvements included a massive cleanup, removal of overgrown shrubs and trees, trail landscaping, painting benches, planting native perennials and the addition of picnic tables. Working with local artist Marina Lee, Beginning Dreams Forever, and the Keefe Avenue Safety Task Force, a public art sculpture was installed at the Harambee Tot Lot. The “Truth Sculpture” was influenced by residents’ desire to share with the youth a message of hope and the principles that hold us together. It was inspired by the “Our Truth” essay by Sandra Parks, a 13 year old Milwaukee girl whose life was taken by gun violence in 2018. This addition to the Tot Lot provides a colorful beacon to encourage active play in what is an increasingly popular park along Keefe Avenue.

Community Mural lead by local artist Letasha Smith

Arts, Culture, Creative Placemaking

What's That on the Beerline Trail?

We are so proud of the work that was done over the summer on the Beerline Trail Extension (between Keefe Ave/Richards St and Capitol Dr). We not only built furniture that seats 25-30 people, two large tables and benches suited for picnics or classrooms, kids play area and art sculptures but we brought so much awareness to our amazing trail. Our partnership with True Skool and Groundwork Milwaukee proved to be a productive one. Next summer we hope to create even more space on the trail to support continued community building in the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods. What we could use more of on the trail is you! Riverworks is looking for ideas on programming and infrastructure people want to see on the trail. We'd also love to support residents interested in starting their own programming on the trail. Programming must be family-friendly and open to the public. This summer we had everything from movie nights to music concerts. What can you dream up?

Aisha Barkow & Dawon Holley of A.B.D.H. Counseling Services 

The Buzz in THE VIBE

A.B.D.H. Counseling Services, LLC

THE VIBE is a very appealing co-work space located inside of Riverworks City Center on Holton St. and Concordia Ave. “Wow!” is a common word used by people who first visit this place. THE VIBE accommodates Members in its open work space, training, and conference rooms as well as its resident office tenants in private offices. THE VIBE’s newest tenant, A.B.D.H. Counseling Services, LLC, was created with the vivacious vision and profound passion of Ms. Aisha Barkow and Ms. Dawon Holley. They chose THE VIBE to house their business because they like the atmosphere and the “vibes” of the people here. Barkow and Holley found that their mission and vision are harmonious with that of Riverworks; both organizations work in the community to genuinely make it a better place.

A.B.D.H. strives for improved physical, mental, emotional, and holistic health for their clients. They said that bettering mental health should be part of our daily life! Indeed it should. Barkow and Holley have the extensive professional backgrounds needed in their field to properly service diverse clients. They are dedicated to working with people who truly want to make changes and grow. They will be moving into their office in December. Please help us in giving a warm welcome to Barkow and Holley, our newest Resident Office Tenants of A.B.D.H Counseling Services.


Riverworks Cleans truck on route to pick up illegal dumpings in City of Milwaukee
Mother and son using Riverworks Coin Laundry Mini-Library - Photo Credit: Ricky Williams

Workforce Development in Action

Riverworks Cleans & Coin Laundry - Two Social Enterprises of Riverworks

This past year, Riverworks Cleans was able to provide five Milwaukee residents with full time positions, and one seasonal position. We were able to create these positions with contracted work with six Milwaukee Business Improvement Districts, along with our partnership with the City of Milwaukee. So far in 2019, our Cleans Crew completed 1,431 work orders, removing illegally dumped items from city properties. Please help us keep our neighborhoods clean by reporting illegal dumps to the City of Milwaukee by calling 286-City, or reporting them to John Cervantes, Riverworks Cleans Business Manager.

Riverworks Coin Laundry will be going into its third year of operation, at 3334 N Holton Street. Through the Riverworks Coin Laundry we we’re able to create two part time and one full time position for Milwaukee residents. Our laundromat is more than just a place to wash cloths; it is also a resource center for all the services Riverworks Financial Clinic provides. We are proud to announce our partnership with the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Early Childhood Initiatives. which led to the opening of a Literacy Center within the laundromat this past September.

Rendering of plans for 3740 N Fratney by Dan Beyer
Rendering of plans for the Goat Palace by Dan Beyer

Real Estate Development

The Fratney Street Creative Corridor Redevelopments

Riverworks, Milwaukee’s Creative District, is home to three Creative Corridors which stimulate artistic energy and unique collaborations. Fratney Street has been an up and coming creative corridor and for the past year, with multiple properties along the 3700 block of Fratney St have seen major investment and redevelopment. The property at 3728 N Fratney, a former tannery, is currently being renovated into personal maker/artist studios. About half of the lower level spaces are already rented and next year the team looks to finalize work on the upper levels. The Goat Palace, at 3740 N Fratney, is an old industrial warehouse, turned event space, featuring a bar, commercial kitchen and bathrooms. This featured article showcases the beautiful renderings by Dan Beyer Architects with a new pedestrian entry way and main ball room.

Take some time today to listen to the urban spelunking podcast discussing the new developments and the future of the area.

Upcoming Events:

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