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HACM 2016 Annual Meeting
Event Features Milwaukee's Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) held its Annual Meeting July 12, 2016 at the community park in Westlawn Gardens to highlight the nearly $300 million transformation underway in Milwaukee's Choice Neighborhood.
Last September, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the City of Milwaukee and HACM a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant to transform the Westlawn public housing development and surrounding community. Over $250 million in additional public and private investment is already committed to the five-year effort to impact the housing, people, educational options and neighborhood amenities and services of the area.
The meeting began with a “Breakfast Block Party” that featured information stations about the Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan and entertainment by the United Community Center's Latino Arts String Ensemble and the Milwaukee Flyers. The Board of Commissioners meeting began with the election of officers with Mark Wagner being re-elected as chairman and Ricardo Diaz re-elected as vice chairman.
Mayor Tom Barrett was then introduced and said: “I am proud of our housing authority, because this is a housing authority that dares to dream. This is an agency that understands that you have to keep pushing the envelope, and that’s what’s going to make this city a stronger city as we move forward.”
“We all know the transformation that has taken place here on the eastern part of Westlawn, how we have taken what was one of the city’s first housing complexes and dared to dream to make it better,” he continued.
“And we are daring to dream again. I issue a challenge to the board to continue to push and push and push to make this a neighborhood where every single kid has an opportunity to get a good grade school education, middle school education, high school education and wherever they want to go beyond that. That is our challenge here today, and it’s a challenge I know you’re up to.”
Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez’ report to the board focused on elements of the Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan and a celebration of individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a positive impact on HACM’s residents and neighborhoods.
“Today is about the power of ideas: ideation, and what happens when a group of people come together and create the power for good, the power of collaboration,” said Pérez.
“Duty, responsibility, compromise – these are the pillars of our intent. However, I would like to challenge ourselves that the most important thing is the power of love. This is about loving each other. This is what’s going to make it happen for all of us. Today we commit ourselves to what I consider the crucible of hopeful expectations. As Hamilton said, ‘We need to seize the moment, and the moment is now.’”
The Choice Neighborhoods presentation included the premier of a short video about the Transformation Plan and its goals:
Updates regarding the four core areas of the transformation plan were also presented, including:
HousingHACM has been awarded tax credits by the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) for Victory Manor, a 60-unit mid-rise with an admissions preference for veterans that will be built at the corner of 68th Street and Silver Spring Drive. The Center for Veterans Issues will provide supportive services within the building.
PeopleSix case managers have been hired by HACM to assist Westlawn residents during the life of the CNI grant.
- Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) has named a Choice Neighborhood Partnership Assistant to coordinate MPS activities as part of the CNI initiative.
- In order to assist Westlawn residents who plan to return to the neighborhood with continuity in schooling during relocation, MPS has committed to providing transportation for two years back to the four schools in the CNI neighborhood, or to their current school if an MPS school.
- Browning Elementary School, which operates out of the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, has recently been added to the Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership, a joint effort of MPS and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. The community schools model is a proven strategy to transform a school into a place where students, families, staff and the surrounding community work together to ensure every student is successful.
- Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will hire a Choice Neighborhood Coordinator that will assist in outreach to the CNI neighborhood and in planning events to improve community involvement and community spirit.
- Havenwoods EDC is hosting a Rhythm & Blooms Summer concert series with three concerts at Green Tree Community Garden and two at Westlawn Gardens.
- The Milwaukee Common Council approved the creation of a Redevelopment Plan for the CNI area and city staff are working to identify elements of the plan.
Tim Hoye was introduced as HACM’s new Choice Neighborhood Coordinator.
The Secretary-Executive Director’s report ended with several recognitions of individuals and organizations that have worked to improve quality of life for HACM residents:
- Rick Roszkowski and Lisa Eichler, for their support of the Cherry Street Garden
- Donna Rivard and Karen Jurek for their support of the Lapham Park Cooking Club
- Robert Robison for his creation and production of the Lapham Park Pathways newsletter
- Keith Schultz of SchultzWerk Architecture for his work to support HACM's capital improvement projects
- Bublr Bikes for partnering with HACM to foster an equitable Milwaukee bike share program
- Hunger Task Force for bringing healthy foods to more than 25 underserved neighborhoods, including six public housing developments
- Dr. Christine Faltz for leadership of the Central City Cyberschool and dedication to children in public housing
- Anthony McHenry for dedication to the youth and families of Westlawn through his work at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center
- Dr. Sally Lundeen for her role as a driving force behind the UWM College of Nursing Community Health Center at Silver Spring Neighborhood Center
- Memorial stones placed in the park at Westlawn Gardens in honor of James B. Wahl, a tireless advocate for Westlawn seniors, and Ellene "Tudie" Parks, a dedicated leader and mentor for Westlawn residents