Marquette Wire

Near West Side area receives $1.3M HUD grant

A+map+of+the+Near+West+Side+neighborhood+boundaries.+Courtesy+of+http%3A%2F%2Fnearwestsidemke.org
A map of the Near West Side neighborhood boundaries. Courtesy of http://nearwestsidemke.org

A map of the Near West Side neighborhood boundaries. Courtesy of http://nearwestsidemke.org

A map of the Near West Side neighborhood boundaries. Courtesy of http://nearwestsidemke.org

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave $1.3 million to Marquette University and the Near West Side Partners Sept. 5 to restore the College Court apartments and the Near West Side community.

There were six institutions who received money from HUD. Pat Kennelly, the director of the Center for Peacemaking at Marquette, said the planning grant will begin Dec. 3.

The Near West Side is just west of downtown Milwaukee. The area was once marked by seven hospitals, two universities, parks and major employers, among other things. 

“However, over the past half century, the Near West Side has fallen into a continuous state of decline. Residents who worked in the neighborhood no longer chose to live there, and amenities, such as grocery stores and restaurants, faded,” the HUD press release stated.

“The funds will help develop action plans to revitalize commercial corridors, strengthen resident connections, attract a vibrant mix of amenities and support green spaces and beautification efforts,” Kennelly said.

Kennelly said Near West Side Partners began in 2014.

“As founding partners, Marquette and the anchor institutions worked with residents and other community stakeholders to develop a coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing neighborhood issues,” Kennelly said. 

MillerCoors, Aurora Health Care, Potawatomi Business Development Corporation and Harley-Davidson are the other anchor organizations, Kennelly said.

Amy Hall, HUD’s communications coordinator, said she hopes the initiative will spur momentum for the Near West Side.

“This funding award will help Near West Side Partners build even more momentum to create additional opportunities for residents of the Near West Side community to live, work and play,” Hall said.

Kennelly said the grant will focus its money upon the neighborhoods that make up the Near West Side.

Developing College Court is the large part of the grant funding as well. College Court apartments  is located at 3334 W. Highland Blvd. on the northwest side. 

“This investment will assist partners in developing an intentional plan for much needed revitalization of the Housing Authority’s College Court housing development for low-income seniors and disabled adults,” Hall said.

With the start of Near West Side Partnership, there has already been much change in the Near West Side neighborhood, the press release said. 

These plans have resulted in several transformational changes in the community, including the opening of two grocery stores and 18 businesses, improved neighborhood lighting, closure of a problematic tobacco shop, and most importantly a stronger, more authentic relationship between residents, businesses, and other stakeholders,” according to the press release.

Marquette University and the partners of the Near West Side intend to work with residents in the neighborhood to form a comprehensive plan to use the grant money.

I believe HUD recognized that Near West Side Partners, the City of Milwaukee and each anchor institution demonstrated a track record of working together to address blight, improving housing conditions, attracting businesses and reducing crime,” Kennelly said.

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