Barrett announces Strong Baby program, supports arena plan during State of the City address

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:15 pm

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett today announced a Strong Baby Sanctuary Initiative during his State of the City address at Alverno College.

The program will address the complex problem of infant mortality through a communitywide, long-term effort, Barrett said.

The initiative will help churches and faith communities develop programming to provide safe places for pregnant women, new mothers, fathers and families. The programs will offer health support and information, including stress reduction, wellness support, and education about reducing infant deaths from premature births and unsafe sleeping environments.

It is being offered through a partnership among Columbia St. Mary’s Urban Church Wellness Program, the City of Milwaukee Health Department, March of Dimes Wisconsin Chapter and United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.

An introductory breakfast meeting will be held for potential church partners on Saturday, March 28 at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee.

Barrett also threw his support behind the effort to build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I support the governor’s arena financing plan,” he said. “I have had productive conversations with legislative leaders and the Bucks ownership group. We can come to an agreement – an agreement that will not include raising property taxes – to finance a new arena and spur new economic development. I’m confident we will get this done.”

During the speech, Barrett also talked about efforts to provide more employment opportunities for city residents, including the Compete Milwaukee program and the Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership.

“The overall health of our city depends on the quality of life of each of its families, and that starts with a job,” Barrett said. “Working with our partners, we can have an immediate and positive impact on the hiring of workers, by working closely with employers and designing job training specifically for their needs. From the start of the Manufacturing Partnership in 2012, we have worked with hundreds of employers and more than a thousand individuals have received employment offers.”

Barrett said the city is working to encourage entrepreneurs through its partnerships with companies like Scale Up Milwaukee, BizStarts Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. and Kiva Zip Milwaukee.

“We are working with our partners at Milwaukee 7 to attract new companies to the city,” he said. “We are committed to working with existing companies to facilitate their growth.”

He thanked the Milwaukee Common Council for moving the streetcar project forward, and described his transportation strategy, which includes cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians.

“I want to build on the momentum we’ve had and continue to create jobs and spur economic development,” Barrett said. “A healthy downtown benefits the entire city.”

Barrett also highlighted Milwaukee’s Earn & Learn program, touted the city’s summer reading program, and promised to continue his vision for making Milwaukee Public Library branches more technology-rich.

He discussed Milwaukee’s homebuyer assistance program and efforts to strengthen neighborhoods. Barrett also highlighted the Milwaukee Police Department’s efforts to reduce crime and get guns off the streets.

This year, Milwaukee will more than double its investment in street improvements through a high-impact paving program, Barrett said.

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