Riverworks Newsletter - February 2022
Greeting Friends and Neighbors:
A Message from the Executive Director:
This year marks 30 years of Riverworks Development Corporation's (formerly Northeast Milwaukee Industrial Development Corporation) 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. Thanks for being a part of our history!
- Darryl Johnson, Executive Director
Riverworks Development Corporation
Extraordinary Care from the Financial Clinic
VITA is back again!
Riverworks' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program through the IRS is back again for our 14th year! This season will run from February 1 to March 19, 2022. VITA offers free tax help to individuals with household incomes of $58,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
In 2021, our VITA program greatly surpassed it's commitment to do 800 tax filings within 6 weeks, as our tax team of staff and volunteers prepared and filed over 1,100 returns. Additionally, the Financial Clinic had over 1,200 residents go through our Financial Navigator program, 122 homeowners were served by our Anti Displacement program, and 61 clients received financial credit coaching.
Mr. Rogers & Mrs. Myles met with Jamal for a financial coaching session. Mr. Rogers was so transparently honest about everything that had been going on - what caused him to get in the financial state - that Jamal felt fully invested in their financial success. With Mrs. Myles being an independent contractor, Jamal was able to connect them with another Financial Clinic coach, Christopher, to help them to stay on top of their tax commitments.
Small Business & Entrepreneurial Resources
An exciting future for this entrepreneurial duo!
Riverworks Development Corporation’s Business Development HUB has had another successful year of supporting Milwaukee’s ambitious entrepreneurs across a wide variety of industries. Some of the most memorable experiences for our business development specialists have been working with Marcus & Tamara Reed. Marcus and Tamara are truly an awe-inspiring couple! This husband-and-wife team own their own businesses individually and are in the final stages of establishing a third. They were both individually awarded the Brew City Match grant from LISC, and we have full confidence that their passion and drive will put those funds to good use to serve our city. Check out the Brew City Match Press Release for more information.
Creative Placemaking on the Beerline Trail
Get involved on the Beerline Trail!
Branding of the newly named B-Line Park - the section of the Beerline Trail from Richards Street to Capitol Drive - and creative placemaking projects on the Beerline Trail continue with direction from the resident led group, the Guiding Lens. Last fall the group led an effort to create a cup mural on the Capitol Drive bridge. The cup mural was designed by local artist, Aisha Valentín, and was installed by local residents and members of the Guiding Lens. The Guiding Lens will also be installing a planter sculpture designed by local artist, Marina Lee, come springtime. If you are interested in these projects or getting involved with all things Beerline Trail, please contact the Guiding Lens. If you are a frequent user of the Beerline Trail, please consider filling out the Beerline Trail Engagement Survey. To learn more about the trail and how to get involved, please visit our website.
The Kresge Foundation's FreshLo initiative provided Riverworks with funding to support small food-related businesses and creative enterprises. The project recruited home gardeners and cooks as potential vendors, and allowed us to host performances, workshops, and other arts programming. Learn more about the FreshLo initiative here.
Looking back and looking forward!
2021 was a busy year in the neighborhood. Riverworks facilitated many community projects, events and participated in various meetings and workshops. Among our many projects was a collaboration with various community stakeholders on the Reckless Driving Mini Grant, which focused on slowing down traffic on East Center Street. The Riverwest Farmer’s Market featured 35 local vendors each week selling produce, prepared food, flowers, body products and crafts. The 53212Marketplace Holiday Edition was very successful with 25 local vendors and hundreds of attendees. The Harambee Community Association met virtually several times last year with a focus on sharing resources, community project updates and various guest speakers. Riverworks also hosted our 3rd Annual Music on the Beerline event and our 1st Annual Beerline Shuffle.
This year, we will continue our work in the neighborhood with housing surveys, neighborhood clean ups, community events and meetings, the Riverwest Market, and more. Watch out for upcoming announcements about our summer programming schedule and our 2nd Annual Beerline Shuffle! To get more involved, sign up for our general volunteer list here!
Cleaning up the city one day at a time.
Riverworks Cleans is planning to stay busy in 2022. We will be operating in seven Milwaukee Business Improvement Districts this coming year. You will find our crews picking up litter, removing graffiti, landscaping, and keeping up the appearance of Milwaukee’s commercial corridors. We will also be entering into the 9th year of our contract with the City of Milwaukee removing illegally dumped debris from city owned properties. We also offer the service of removing unwanted materials from residential and commercial properties. Please visit our website for a free estimate.
Additionally, we are currently taking applications for two spots on the Cleans Crew (one part-time and one full-time position). 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.
Harambee NID #7
2022 Annual Meeting - IN PERSON
The Harambee NID #7 will be hosting their annual meeting on Saturday, March 12, 2022 from 10:00am - 12:00pm. The meeting will take place, in person, at the Ebenezer Family Worship Center at 3151 N Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. At this meeting, elections for the Harambee NID Board of Directors will be held; all individuals who own or occupy real estate property in the NID boundaries are eligible to vote or run for office.
Additionally, applications are still being accepted for the Harambee NID home repair program. All qualified persons are encouraged to apply. Check out their website or contact Clarissa for more details.
Shout Out to Our Supporters!
Gratitude goes out to Wells Fargo Foundation for investing in the Riverworks Business Development HUB team to impact entrepreneurs of color. This funding will allow our team to offer wisdom, knowledge, and resources to our business owners so that they can impact the community with their goods and services.
Additionally, we would like to thank everyone who donated to our 2021 Annual Appeal, as well as those who donated time, resources, and funding throughout the year! We truly could not do this work without the support of our donors, volunteers and partners!