Riverworks Newsletter - February 2023
Greeting Friends and Neighbors:
We hope you are doing well in this new year! As we reflect on 2022, we are proud to say that it was a very successful year of providing relevant resources to residents and businesses. From connecting businesses and homeowners to grant and funding opportunities, to providing resources to residents in financial crisis, our Financial Clinic and Business Development HUB continue to expand and grow. Our Neighborhood Development team ran a successful year of the Riverwest Farmers Market, met with many residents to develop the Harambee Quality of Life Plan, and had outstanding turnout at our Beerline Celebration Series events - Music on the Beerline and Beerline Shuffle. Our Cleans Crew added a new position to further service Business Improvement Districts as well as vacant lots in the City of Milwaukee. And we continued development and beautification of the neighborhood through construction of the Connector Building and improvements along the Beerline Trail.
What we've accomplished in 2022 has paved the way for an even more successful 2023. We couldn't be more excited as we gear up for new exciting projects, programs and partnerships that will lay a foundation for a more vibrant, prosperous and connected community for years to come. Keep a look out for what is coming up in our emails, on Facebook and Instagram, and on our website!
Creative Placemaking on the Beerline Trail
Call for Artists: Proposals for Murals on the Connector Building!
Riverworks, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, is seeking artists’ proposals for two murals on the soon-to-open Connector Building! The murals will be on the exterior walls on the East and West sides of the building; the mural on the West side will be a focal point of the green infrastructure patio, and the mural on the East side will be facing a bustling corner along Richards Street that is highly trafficked by vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists on the Beerline Trail.
Riverworks Development Corp has been hard at work to bring the Connector Building, located at 274 E Keefe Avenue, to life. The Connector Building, once a blighted and vacant lot, is scheduled to open this Spring and will be home to a new café, operated by Kuumba Juice and Coffee, as well as a community space for residents and partners to host various events. This new development along the Beerline Trail will serve as the anchor and accessway for the future development of the B-Line Park - a linear park that will serve Harambee, Riverwest and the surrounding communities. This community development project will breathe new life into East Keefe Avenue, bring people together, and build visibility surrounding the larger project of the B-Line Park. Our goal is to create a hub for programming focused on civic engagement, arts and culture.
Kick off to the Harambee Quality of Life Plan Planning Series
This Thursday, February 16th from 5:30-8:00pm (via Zoom) is the kick-off to the Harambee Quality of Life Plan planning series! All Harambee neighborhood residents and stakeholders are encouraged to participate in one, two, or even all five sessions. The feedback and data generated within each individual session will be analyzed by the steering committee members, later becoming the foundation for the Harambee plan.
The Harambee Quality of Life planning process is one of the most important steps a neighborhood can take to become healthier, safer, and economically stronger. The Harambee plan will be empowered by the rich history of the Harambee community coming together as change-makers - making the future of Harambee a vibrant, safe, and exciting place to live, work, worship, learn and play!
Register for the kick-off session and/or check out dates and times for the entire series here, or send us an email. If you want to get more involved within the 53212 community, contact Sara Czarnecki-Reynolds via email or by calling 414-882-7431.
PLUS a New Community Group in Riverwest: Friends of Gordon Park
Riverworks Development Corp is excited to announce our involvement in the creation and ongoing support of a new community group in Riverwest: Friends of Gordon Park. This group was formed at the request of a handful of residents who were passionate about the park and expressed interest in collaborating toward common goals. The residents reached out to seasonal park employee and Riverwest resident, Tim Drury, who then connected with Riverworks' Community Engagement Coordinator, Ruth Weill.
As of January 2023, 65 people have taken the online survey about how they use the park, over 20 residents have expressed interest in participating in this group on a regular basis, and another 20 residents stated support and interest in occasional involvement. Gordon Park is located on the corner of Humboldt Boulevard and Locust Street, and is utilized by residents, schools and sports teams from throughout Milwaukee and beyond. If you are interested in participating or have questions please contact Friends of Gordon Park via email.
Extraordinary Care from the Financial Clinic
Free Tax Preparation Through VITA
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program through the IRS is back again for Riverworks' Financial Clinic's 15th year! This season will run from February 1st through March 25th, 2023. VITA offers free tax help to individuals with household incomes of $60,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
This program is available through both remote services and in-person appointments this year. To set up an appointment OR to get ready for remote tax preparation, visit our website or call 414-882-7423.
Harambee NID #7
Get Ready for the NID's 2023 Annual Meeting
The Harambee NID #7 will be hosting their annual meeting on Saturday, March 11th, 2023 from 10:00am - 1:30pm. The meeting will take place, in person, at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library at 310 W Locust Street. 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. There are 2 ways to vote: in person at the annual meeting, or online from March 3rd through March 10th (voting cut off is at 5:00pm) by visiting the voting portal here.
Shout Out to Our Supporters!
Sincere gratitude goes out to the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation for their support of our creative placemaking efforts along the Beerline Trail in Harambee and Riverwest. This funding will allow our team to continue to implement the “Milwaukee Method” of creative placemaking by unifying arts and culture with economic and community development. Through these endeavors we will make our neighborhoods vibrant cultural destinations for residents and visitors alike.
Additionally, we would like to thank everyone who donated to our 2022 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!