The new Milwaukee draws praise from a visitor

    The Milwaukee region has its problems. Inner city poverty and crime, high property taxes, crazy health care costs, a flawed sewerage system and inadequate mass transit quickly come to mind, and I’m sure you can quickly add others to the list.

    It’s all too easy to be swayed by the latest diatribes, rants and outrages emanating from the talk radio circuit and become jaded, even cynical about our hometown.

    However, sometimes, it takes an outsider’s perspective to put things into more sharply into focus for us insiders.

    My thanks to David Fantle at Visit Milwaukee for forwarding to me links to two glowing stories about Milwaukee in the Los Angeles Times in the past week.

    The stories were written by Los Angeles Times staff writer Susan Carpenter, who spent two evenings in our fair city and then reported on her experiences.

    While in Milwaukee, Carpenter visited all of the usual landmarks and discovered some of our more obscure gems. Her stops included the Hotel Metro, Cubanitas, Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro, Alterra Coffee, the County Clare Irish Inn, Brady Street, Old World Third Street, the Iron Horse Hotel, Mader’s and the Old German Beer Hall.

    Along the way, she even had high praise for Milwaukee’s trolleys!

    Leave it to an outsider to point out that four of Milwaukee’s top tourist attractions – Miller Park, the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin and now the Harley Museum – all have been constructed since 2001.

    You see, we really ARE making progress around here. Don’t believe me? Check out these observations from Carpenter:

    • "In the last decade, the country’s 25th-largest city has gone through such a massive revitalization that ‘cosmopolitan’ is a more apt description than ‘blue collar.’ Have a Pabst if you wish, but there’s a whole lot more to sample, whether it’s microbreweries and organic coffee or modern art and architecture."
    • "I was in town to check out the (Harley) museum, which turned out to be one of the most engaging I’ve experienced. What I wasn’t expecting was to be just as blown away by the city. I’m still fantasizing about moving there."
    • "Coming from L.A., I was surprised by how easy it was to get around. In Los Angeles, it takes at least 30 minutes to get anywhere. In Milwaukee, it’s about five."
    • * "If I hadn’t known I was in Milwaukee, I would have guessed it was Seattle. Milwaukee seemed just as hip, progressive and clean as Seattle – only it’s about 2,000 miles east and at the edge of fresh water (Lake Michigan) instead of the Pacific. On the sunny days I was here, it had just as many people jogging and bicycling through its parks. It’s also smaller and easier to navigate. I’m not great with directions, but I found Milwaukee’s grid system and main streets easy to get around."

     

    Now, to be sure, it’s a good thing she came here in June, rather than in January. But Susan, please don’t be a stranger!

    To view Susan Carpenter’s complete articles about Milwaukee in the Los Angeles Times, visit http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-tr-milwaukee6-2008jul06?page=1 and http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-ca-harley6-2008jul06,0,2977939.story.

    Steve Jagler is executive editor of Small Business Times.

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