When talking about New Year’s resolutions, some of us wondered if they’re even a thing anymore. While some of us may make them for ourselves, we decided that it would be more interesting to share our hopes – resolutions, if you will – for Milwaukee in 2018.
While, perhaps, each of us can’t single-handedly make these resolutions reality in the next 12 months, they are things upon which we can all act together.
Happy 2018, Milwaukee. Let’s make it a positive one.
When the Bucks announced they were building a new arena – and received $250 million in public funding – there was justifiable outcry from many Milwaukeeans who felt that taxpayers shouldn’t help New York billionaires build a basketball facility, or at least that the money could be better spent on other civic and social projects.
The Bucks assured they would renew and deepen the organizational commitments to the city and community, especially as part of the arena development, and they largely have done just that. They’ve utilized local design teams and construction crews, including hiring underemployed residents and initiating unique workforce development programs; they’ve expanded their Social Responsibility department and strived to reach out to disadvantaged neighborhoods and youth; they’ve forged major partnerships with numerous local groups and companies; and they’ve done it all with a progressive, uplifting (and sometimes over-the-top) message of moving Milwaukee forward through basketball. And the Bucks should be applauded for investing in the city and leading development.
In 2018, especially when the new arena opens next fall, I want to see the Bucks continue to put their money where their mouth (and marketing/branding/spending) is, continue to target the inner city and urban areas Milwaukee has long neglected, continue to speak out – socially and politically, from the front office to the players – and continue to lead this (traditionally minded, past-looking) city toward truly owning the future. I hope in 2018 that the arena is just the beginning.
Senior writer/food and dining
I hope that Milwaukee makes significant strides in developing largely overlooked neighborhoods. While the bulk of development in recent years has focused on places like Bay View, Walker’s Point and like, there’s so much investment to be made in neighborhoods like Bronzeville, Harambee and Lindsay Heights. There’s also investment to be made in reducing the barriers that keep people from comfortably traversing boundaries between neighborhoods and exploring the city on the whole.
In kind, I wish for Milwaukeeans to open their minds to the city and its diverse assets, to embrace it (ALL of it) and truly own it. I wish for folks to explore the corners they’ve never visited, connect with people they might otherwise have ignored, and invest their time and energy in truly making this the best place possible to live and work.
Pop culture editor
I have many hopes for Milwaukee in 2018 – that the streetcar is the success that I believe it can be and that it grows beyond its currently small-scale loop, that Brewers and Bucks fans keep expectations both optimistic but realistic, that we don't lose our minds every time a movie or TV show merely mentions a Wisconsin city as if we need validation.
But the hope I have most excitement for in the upcoming year, of course, comes from the world of film. Milwaukee Film has spent the past year moving its pieces together for a gigantic leap in 2018, from taking over the Oriental Theatre this upcoming summer to moving its festival further into the fall so it has a better chance at snagging the big buzzy awards season releases that typically just fall outside its grasp to its new filmmaker hub. The Milwaukee film scene is growing into a real player, and with all these moves, I hope 2018 is the year the entire city, the state and the country take notice. That would be something REALLY worth woo-ing about.
Senior writer/Editorial manager
My resolution for Milwaukee is that it becomes a more walkable city. If you’re a walker, you know what I mean. If you’re a driver, and I’m including myself here as well, remember that the law requires us to stop for anyone trying to cross the street, whether it’s a marked intersection or not. I’d also like to see this city get a Chinese restaurant with decent dim sum and a Korean barbecue joint. And I wish for people to be kinder to one another, but we can start with the letting-people-cross-the-street thing and see where it goes.
Get to "Greater Milwaukee!" This is what I want. Milwaukee and its surrounding communities are Greater Milwaukee. Or, they should be. Chicago calls itself and its suburban area Chicagoland. So, let's - in 2018 - fully embrace Greater Milwaukee or, if you'd rather, Milwaukeeland? Nah, not sure that term flows. Greater Milwaukee sounds and is better. Either way, we're not just a City. We're a community of cities, villages, counties and towns. Without the heart of the state, Milwaukee, its suburbs don't live. Vice versa, without the arteries -- the suburbs -- Milwaukee doesn't live. So, moving into 2018 let's make more collaboration and truly grow Greater Milwaukee.
No matter what subject we're talking about entertainment, education, development, sports, retail, transit, etc. joint operation and action is key. Without collaboration, we all die since we're all in it -- no mater what it is -- together.
I hope that the streetcar – whether you call it The Hop or the trolley or whatever – not only meets expectations but exceeds them. A successful streetcar loop, with an expansion already planned to the East Side, could form a much broader system in the city, connecting neighborhoods that have often seemed walled off from one another, either by freeways or by mentality. A booming streetcar could boost development, which in turn could strengthen the tax base and help us fund some of the things the city can’t really afford to cut but has been forced to thanks to plummeting revenue from Madison – things like fire companies, for example.
Milwaukee shouldn’t spend another year staring at its biggest blighted eyesore, Northridge Mall. Thanks to a gift by Bill Penzey, some of it has been returned to the City, but the rest is still squatted upon by a Chinese holding company that has no plans but to leave it crumbling. Milwaukee should use all legal means to get the property into its possession, then move swiftly to demolish it and put something meaningful in its place. And then it’s Milwaukeeans’ turn: support the new endeavor by showing up. This part of the city needs everyone's help to turn things around.