Riverworks Newsletter - February 2021
Greeting Friends and Neighbors:
We hope you are doing well in this new year! As we reflect back on 2020, we are proud to say that it was a very successful year of pivoting our services and rethinking our programs to offer the most relevant resources to residents and businesses. We learned new technologies and were able to use them to broaden our reach. Some of our most notable accomplishments include:
Expanding our Financial Clinic offices, team, and services
Offered new programming for businesses including the promotional videos in the MADE IN THE RIVERWORKS BID series
Reached record levels of engagement on our virtual events including the Music on the Beerline, 53212Marketplace, and the Health Matters wellness series
We are gearing up for a lot of big projects and programs in 2021. Keep a look out for what is coming up in our emails, on Facebook, and on our website!
Extraordinary Care from the Financial Clinic
Help us welcome in our new and growing Financial Clinic team!
Over the course of last year, it became apparent that the Financial Clinic needed to pivot to keep up with the changing needs of the community. Our staff has grown significantly over the past few months, and we have expanded our offices into the space that was formerly know as THE VIBE. We just finished up the Anti-Displacement program that helped homeowners in certain areas to lower their property tax bills. Our year-round VITA program that offers free income tax assistance is currently in its busiest months with tax season in full swing. And, don't forget about our Financial Navigator program that is here to help you find the resources you need for any financial concerns or goals.
To set up an appointment to file your taxes, click here
For more information about Financial Clinic programs and services, call 414.882.7430
Keefe Avenue Safety Task Force: A Resident-Led Community Group
Keefe Avenue Safety Task Force, a resident led initiative focusing on Keefe Avenue between Holton and Port Washington Road, is a great example of neighbors effecting change in their community. It was born out of nearby residents' frustrations with a local bar and their extreme nuisance-like behaviors about six years ago. It has been gone strong ever since! The residents, along with representatives from Riverworks, Safe & Sound, and the Milwaukee Police Department, have worked tirelessly over the years on various quality-of-life issues such as lighting, clean ups and other safety-related issues. This group is a great example of the power of community when neighbors come together with a common goal.
To learn more about how you could start an initiative like this on your block, contact Ruth Weill by calling 414.882.7421
Creative Placemaking on the Beerline Trail
The Next Phase for the Beerline Trail: The Implementations of the Lifeways Plan!
The Beerline Trail Neighborhood Development Project is a collaborative effort among Riverworks, the GMC, LISC Milwaukee, MKE-LAX, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy - with funding from supporters both here in Milwaukee and nationally. The next phase of the development of the trail is the implementation of the Beerline Trail Lifeways Plan. The Lifeways Plan design for the Connector Park includes community greenhouses, a large performance stage, play and workout equipment, café and community space, greenspace, and other first-class amenities. We will soon be launching a capital campaign to seek investment in this project. Keep an eye out for our trail webinar series hosted by the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC). The first installment, "Equity, Greenspace, and the Beerline Trail," premiered in January with keynote speaker Carol Colleta, President and CEO of Memphis River Parks Partnership.
To donate now, please click here
Check out the Beerline Trail chapter, written by Sara Daleiden, in Walter Hood's book Black Landscapes Matter
Small Business & Entrepreneurial Resources
Webinars for budding entrepreneurs!
Over the past year, Riverworks' Small Businesses development team has grown to include businesses planning, businesses financial coaches, business tax support, and real estate updates as well as an amazing support team of local partner organizations such as BizStarts, SBDC and many more. This year, we are going to be launching a series of small business webinars covering a wide-range of topics. Webinars will feature specials guests as well as opportunities to download templates, schedule meetings with mentors, and set and track your goals. Webinars will launch in March, so stay tuned and keep following us on Facebook
Riverworks Cleans Crew
Now offering residential and business junk and debris removal!
The Riverworks Cleans Crew is a social enterprise of Riverworks. For over six years, the crew has been contracted with the City of Milwaukee and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) throughout the city. Made up of five full time employees and one seasonal worker, this team is out in the community picking up litter and illegally dumped debris, removing graffiti, doing landscaping and snow removal, and much more! Recently, the Cleans Crew has started to take on one-off projects with business owners, property owners, and residents to haul off unwanted materials.
To fill out a request for cleaning or debris removal services, check out our website
To learn more, contact John Cervantes by calling 414.882.7424
Real Estate Development
A Sneak Peak at the Plan: The Beerline Plaza
The Beerline Plaza Green Infrastructure project has been in the works for over a year now. Utilizing funds from MMSD through their GI partnership grant, as well as their design services grant. Through these awards, we have been given the opportunity to work with an amazing engineering firm, Strand Engineers, to finalize our design and bring our vision to life. We also received matching grant funds from Fund for Lake Michigan, an organization that has pushed us to ensure there is community involvement and a feasible maintenance plan. Installing Green Infrastructure can be quite challenging and at Riverworks, we want to be steward of Green Infrastructure to our neighbors. More details about the project will be unveiled soon, as well as how you can get involved.
BID #25: Milwaukee's Creative District
The Riverworks BID #25 has the goal of being a resource to the local businesses, property owners and the community it serves. As part of that initiative, we have established the Riverworks BID Property Improvement Grant. This grant will match up to 40% of a project cost (up to $5,000) to help our businesses when they need help the most. The grant covers street facing exterior improvements such as signage, LED lighting, natural plantings, security cameras, ADA improvements, and much more. To find out if you qualify, contact Kate Bartlett by calling 414.882.7427
If you are interested in learning more check out our website
For more information about other City grants and local loan opportunities, check out our online business toolbox
Harambee NID #7
The Harambee NID #7 is hosting it's annual meeting on Saturday, March 13th from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. This will be a virtual meeting held via Zoom. The boundaries of the Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) are Center Street to Capitol Drive and Holton Street to 7th Street. Residents and property owners within the boundaries of the NID are invited to learn about the 2021 home rehabilitation program, and also vote for the Board of Directors. The NID is still accepting nominations for prospective board members; if you, or someone you know, seems like a good fit, you can submit online here.
For more information about the Annual Meeting, Board of Directors, or general information about the Harambee NID, contact Clarissa Morales by calling 414.882.7434
Shout Out to Our Supporters!
Thank you to everyone who supported Riverworks in 2020! With your support, we were able to provide services resources to residents and businesses in Harambee and Riverwest all year long.
To donate today, click the link below or Text-to-Give at 414.251.2225
Tap the photos below for more information