Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:21 pm
The operation that promotes and spruces up downtown Milwaukee will remain in place for at least another five years.
Owners representing 76% of the downtown area’s property value have voted to extend the existence of the Business Improvement District (BID) that has been credited with boosting downtown’s new vitality.
One of the prime supporters of the program, Thomas Bernacchi, said the vote was in recognition of the BID’s successes to date. “According to our operating plan, a vote is taken every five years to determine whether we are meeting our objectives,” said Bernacchi, chairman of the Milwaukee Downtown BID board of directors and principal at Towne Realty. “This first vote proves that we are getting things done and will continue to do so.”
Property owners within the BID agree to an additional tax on their properties to support BID programs.
According to Beth Nicols, executive director of Milwaukee Downtown, the organization has helped promote downtown housing, retail and transportation improvement. It has also engaged in marketing efforts, organized the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, and purchased a “TIK” traveling information kiosk. Nicols also says the Milwaukee Downtown Graffiti Removal Program has cut tagging by nearly 70%, and has kept streets and sidewalks free of litter and other debris, has provided plants and other landscaping decorations, and has offered assistance to downtown visitors through the Public Service Ambassadors program.
“Our mission has, and will continue to be, a clean, safe and friendly downtown,” Nicols said.
This year’s Holiday Lights Festival again includes giant light displays at three downtown parks: a North Pole scene at Pere Marquette Park at Kilbourn Avenue and Old World Third Street, Teddy and Friends and Zeidler Union Square at 4th and Michigan streets, and Frostie’s Winter Jubilee at Cathedral Square at Jefferson and Wells streets. A tour bus, starting from the Hilton Milwaukee City Center hotel at Fifth Street and Wisconsin Avenue, is also available for viewing the lights, with cookies and hot chocolate provided. There is a $1 fee for the bus ride.
The BID group recently held its annual meeting, honoring property owners for keeping up their facilities and others for promoting downtown Milwaukee. The honorees are:
— Plaza East Office Center, winner of the Green Thumb Award for meticulously maintaining exterior landscaping year round including plantings and floral displays.
— City Hall Square, winner of the Brick and Mortar Award for a building or property that has helped to revitalize and attract new residents into downtown.
— Joey Buona’s Pizzeria Grille, winner of the Fork and Spoon Award for a new or redeveloped restaurant that has captured the attention of the marketplace enhancing the downtown dining scene.
— Stephanie Otto, executive director of the Westown Association and winner of the Downtown Champion Award, who has been a catalyst in championing downtown and has worked tirelessly to promote downtown.
— Time Warner Cable, winner of the CPR Award for a redevelopment of a downtown building that has maintained or increased jobs as well as enhanced the overall neighborhood.
— The Milwaukee Wave and the Milwaukee Bucks, co-winners of the Downtown Showcase Award for an exciting event or organization that has helped improve the overall image of downtown as an exciting, dynamic, happening place.
— Elsa’s on the Park, winner of the Night Owl Award for a hot spot that has attracted people to downtown after dark, improving the overall ambiance of the city for locals and visitors.
— Johnson Controls, winner of the Hometown Award for a business that has made a major commitment to the downtown by adding staff and facilities or locating downtown.
— Milwaukee Art Museum, winner of the Attraction Award, for a downtown destination that has helped to attract visitors through an innovative program or marketing.
— Jeff Sherman of OnMilwaukee.com, winner of the Recognition Award for a public or private individual that should be singled out for special service to the community.
— Wisconsin Energy Corporation, winner of the Corporate Citizen Award for a business or organization that is the ultimate corporate citizen, supporting downtown through employment, facilities and sponsorship.
Additional information on Milwaukee Downtown can be found at www.milwaukeedowntown.com.
November 23, 2001 Small Business Times, Milwaukee