The events of this last weekend have underscored the profound need for our city’s leadership – elected officials, businesses, non-profit organizations and community leaders – to unite behind an effort to ensure that all members of our community share in the prosperity and economic growth that are occurring in and around Downtown.
The Greater Downtown is the city’s most important source of jobs – representing 42% of all private-sector jobs in the city. And the trend line shows that it is becoming even more important as a jobs center, with the neighborhoods around Downtown growing the fastest. From 2004-2014, the Greater Downtown area added 22,100 jobs while the rest of the city lost a similar number of jobs and the metro region as a whole lost 6,100 jobs. Despite these gains in growth in the city, Milwaukee has never fully recovered from the 45,000 jobs lost in the 1970s and ‘80s. As a result, there are too many people who have been left behind, especially within the African-American community.
Addressing this challenge is one of the primary reasons we launched MKE United earlier this summer. We must work together to ensure that we leverage the once-in-a-generation development we’re seeing in Greater Downtown to create a city that works for everyone, with inclusive economic opportunities for all. Through MKE United, we are working together to develop a shared and inclusive long-term vision for Greater Downtown, along with an Action Agenda that will provide real, tangible next steps to help make that vision a reality.
A major focus of the MKE United effort is to ensure that all sectors and generations of our community come together to lend their voices to setting priorities, developing shared solutions and playing a role in implementation. Our initial MKE United engagement activities are setting an example for how a diverse group of Milwaukee community members can come together with different views and perspectives, but work collaboratively around common issues and goals. These discussions will continue through additional meetings and engagements through the fall.
MKE United Greater Downtown Action Agenda has set as a priority, building a bridge between the downtown core and the city’s other neighborhoods by identifying tangible opportunities for job growth and retention. This fall we will identify and present the priorities and targets necessary to produce greater opportunities for jobs, housing choices, transportation, and amenities in the Downtown and immediately adjacent neighborhoods.
We all love this great City and recognize that we must do more to ensure that all residents participate in the City’s future growth and economic opportunity. We are committed to that important work and believe that MKE United has an important role to play in developing the types of comprehensive and sustainable solutions that will benefit all Milwaukee residents.
About MKE United Greater Downtown Action Agenda
The MKE United Greater Downtown Action Agenda (MKE United) is a comprehensive planning process through which we will create a shared and inclusive vision for Downtown Milwaukee and its adjacent neighborhoods, supported by a strategic Action Agenda that will make that vision a reality. The effort is led by a partnership that includes the Greater Milwaukee Committee, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Milwaukee Urban League and the City of Milwaukee. For more information, visit http://www.MKEUnited.com.