The Basilica of St. Josaphat is the anchor of the Lincoln Village neighborhood. The St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation is committed to increasing its focus on the livelihood of the people of the Lincoln Village neighborhood. They are members of our Basilica community.
With the original Polish population still maintaining a presence, more than fifty percent of Lincoln Village is Latino. There is a small African American presence and a sprinkling of other ethnicities. Valuing this diversity and recognizing that focusing on socioeconomic issues will only improve the neighborhood, the Milwaukee Department of City Development (DCD) has launched the Lincoln Village Opportunity Strategy.
This initiative will concentrate on the commercial corridor of Lincoln Village, specifically Lincoln Avenue and one block north and south in either direction, from the freeway to 20th Street. The kickoff meeting was hosted by the St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation at the Pope John Paul II Pavilion, the visitor center attached to the Basilica of St. Josaphat. Fr. Lawrence Zurek, OFM Conv., Basilica Administrator welcomed about 45 civic leaders, business owners, residents, and stakeholders gathered to discuss the challenges facing the neighborhood and collaborate for revitalization of the Lincoln Avenue corridor. Members of the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) and the Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) were present as well as DCD representation. Twelfth District Alderman, José Pérez, and Samuel Leichtling of the DCD conducted the meeting, listened to views expressed, and identified issues in need of being addressed.
Leichtling acknowledged Alderman Pérez, St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation Executive Director, Colleen Cheney-Trawiński, and Foundation Board Treasurer, John Rozga as the impetus for the Lincoln Village Opportunity Strategy as it was brought about from a meeting and subsequent discussion between them.
“During February and March, we plan to host a series of topic-specific meetings to discuss some of the specific issues you [neighborhood stakeholders] have identified as priorities in order to identify some specific strategies that begin to discuss how we can collectively work together to advance,” Leichtling said.
Five small group meetings are planned on the following topics: Kosciuszko Park programming/improvements, public safety and building condition (corridor walk), Becher Street interchange improvements, Business District opportunities, and Housing according to Leichtling.
The DCD will also be conducting some data collection and analysis during this time. In April 2019, the larger group will reconvene; the DCD will provide updates on the ideas discussed at the small group meetings, provide a summary of their data analysis and make some preliminary recommendations. Leichtling says their goal is to draft the plan for the Lincoln Village Opportunity Strategy by the end of May so it can be implemented this summer.
The St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation knows that a thriving community is important for the overall health of the neighborhood’s residents and key to maintaining the Basilica of St. Josaphat as one of the top things to do in Milwaukee.