Another blog in the making.
For this I’m went on my own sightseeing around Milwaukee in which I viewed empty buildings. Mainly in the Black Community, in which I should ask: What should go here? Back in 2004, I was looking at “A Time to Change, A Courage to Act” in which Bill Cosby was in the city. And he had a young African-American boy with him during his visit and a question was asked, “What do you see?” He also said “with an education you can see things”. That’s his words, not mine. But here is a challenged question. You see empty buildings, in the black community. What should go here?
First Visit: The Midtown Center. This at one time used to be the legendary Capitol Court Mall in which previously was street mall. Ask any old school Milwaukeean that knows. However, the big empty building infont of me once stood Lowe’s Hardware Store. This was the VERY FIRST Lowe’s in the Milwaukee Area. But a couple of years ago, the store was closed because of not making enough money to thrive. Black folks, we need to learn how to thrive. Not just go in, listen in or support! However, what I heard today on the radio, via WNOV that the building could be an idea for a Community Center. Primarily, a Community Center for African Americans. Why on the subject because after what I’ve heard about the proposed in which previously, a former Milwaukee Alderman had a problem with the competitive side of the Italian Community Center. Also that alderman at the time said if that were to come up, it would have been blocked. I call B.S. on that. So technically, another reason that if the African-Americans were to work and spend money with the Italian Community Center folks, there would not be a needed African Community Center. One thing for sure, I don’t have an issue with the Italian folks here in Milwaukee. But I want see my black folks invest in a Community Center per say in order to have our meetings, events, community related fairs and many others. Just as if it were at the ICC Building. But that previous stuff about blocking and spending money with the Italian folks is way out of bounds!
Another building in the same place which is near by is the former Applebee’s Restaurant near 60th and Capitol. That too was shut down years back. What I think should go there either an expansion of Pizza Hut, which is one on the other side. Or maybe put a bookstore. Yeah, like a small version of Barnes and Nobles. Or if Aurora Health Care had more few dollars, they need to put a pharmacy or fitness center which right near the clinic in the same area.
Also, in the Midtown Center Area: the stores of Marshall’s and Barefeet Shoe Store are inoperative. This might be different for me to step out of the norm, but put an Employment Center in one of those buildings. Either the State of Wisconsin should put a mini Midtown Job Center, or maybe an upstart person who knows the connections of employers should establish a temp service, or a mini version of a Educators Credit Union. I’m just saying. Or since US bank is nearby, they might be able to put a second bank near the area. Years back, there was a UPS Store in the Midtown Center but it was released previously. Either the UPS Store should make a comeback, or put a FastSigns Printshop, or FedEx Office in that spot. Or if the stores don’t do the work, a fitness center like Gold’s Gym or Planet Fitness should be able fill in the void. Or if possible, have a homegrown black owned printshop to fill in the spot.
Second Visit: The Historic Martin Luther King Jr. Drive area in the Bronzeville Distirct. Now I’ve seen several empty buildings and warehouses along the area in which need to be filled up. Maybe some have been ideas but now, it’s time to put in them in motion. Let’s go over the pictures, shall we?
The building near King and Garfield pictured above is available for Commerical Space. Now this can be reasonable in which an store (mainly a bookstore), a print shop, or a council center can fill in. Maybe a temp service, or a local nearby church can use it for a hall or a small community center. Again it’s a thought.
For those of us who lined up to get tickets to see Barack Obama back in 2012, this was one of the areas that had the Obama For America offices. For those of us who want to keep the action thing going for the 44th President under the Organizing for Action, consider this as a thought. Or if possible, set this up as a meeting place, a mini store, a bank or credit union. Or maybe, a upstart business minded person could turn this into a popular spot in which it wants to thrive.
These buildings near the Corner of MLK and North Avenue, same area in the Bronzeville district were probably stores or many other organizations. For these buildings, I could see more offices of various organizations. Yes, even the Milwaukee Urban League is near by. Plus also, I could see a future venue for tickets, like TicketKing or Ticketmaster. Hey, having a ticket place in the Bronzeville is not a bad idea. Just saying. Either for concerts, events, or a centrialized gathering for a Juneteenth Day Dinner. Again, just a thought. Even though that Milwaukee’s Juneteenth Day does take place around the area each June.
I don’t know about this one, but I see a barber shop/beauty shop here. Just a thought. Either that, a clothing store, flower shop, a kids store for school supplies, or hold your breath: A store for funeral items. There. I said it!
This big building probably was a warehouse. Matter of fact, this building had the words Gimbels on it near 5th Street. This was a store warehouse. Look up Gimbels, young bucks. Now since I think it’s been years since the building was housed under a different entity, either I see apartments, office space or maybe a combination of the two. Or maybe if the City of Milwaukee, per say has the building under control, they should make this a large Election Headquarters. Have more folks come here to work and vote, print out the ballots, and also teach folks how to be engaged with the ballot choices. Now I know I shouldn’t be putting election stuff on here, but that’s how I see it. And it should operate every single day. Plus it’s secure.
Finally these are the last stops on the tour. On the left is a space for commercial space. Think of the possibilities of a print shop, flower shop, or maybe one of those spots that would have a barber shop. Or a depot. One of the things I didn’t mention in the previous picture that it can also be used for an recycling/paper shredding station. To fast forward, the office space could be useful for an employment space. On the right, we know that the space on the left is Paje Restaurant. Maybe if it’s still operative and thriving, it should expand to the next building. Even though it’s spaced out for one single spot. That spot should also be a mini-convention hall with wireless internet. Make that FREE wireless internet. Or if differently, with all these Free Phone stations I’m seeing around these job centers, why can’t they come here and rent out this space? And other empty spaces? Again, it’s just a thought.
Many of the pics I took were just a small sample of what I think could turn the empty buildings into thriving buildings. And I know many of us in the black community have great philisophies. We need to put this into motion in order I think to get the Unemployed/underemployed into the employed. Public, Private , Religious or Partnerships. It doesn’t matter. What does matter it’s a thought in objective.
Start brainstorming and thriving, Black Milwaukee!
Not brain draining!