Since its inception in 2015, Near West Side Partners has spearheaded a number of safety improvement initiatives to make the neighborhoods a better place to live, work, and play.
27th Street Tobacco Shop Closure & AB 628
Chief among these accomplishments is the closure of the 27th Street Tobacco Shop in 2016. Located on 27th Street and Kilbourn Avenue, 27th Street Tobacco Shop was a hot spot for crime, garnering 300 police calls between January 2013 and March 2015.
Through the collective efforts of Near West Side Partners’ PARC Team, Near West Side Community Prosecution Unit, the City of Milwaukee, residents and local businesses, the shop was declared a public nuisance and in February 2016, it voluntarily shut down operations.
The shop was hiding behind a legal loophole that allowed the business to remain in operation even as it abused its tobacco license and negatively impacted the safety and wellbeing of the community. Near West Side Partners anchor institutions worked with the State legislature and Gov. Scott Walker to close the loophole and protect responsible businesses, and in March 2016, Assembly Bill 628 was signed into law at Aurora Sinai Medical Center, helping to save taxpayer resources, reduce crime, and promote economic development in Milwaukee.
Following the closure of 27th Street Tobacco Shop, Penfield Children’s Center purchased the property, putting it in the hands of a trusted community organization and partner who would use the space in a way that benefits the Near West Side and broader Milwaukee community.
Streetscaping and Traffic Calming
The Near West Side is in the heart of the city, providing vital traffic connections from Downtown to the western suburbs and from Milwaukee’s north side to the south side, and traffic speeds along these major thoroughfares have been a significant safety concern among neighbors and businesses. In order to decrease traffic speeds and improve the pedestrian experience, the PARC team has partnered with BID #10 and the City of Milwaukee to identify intersections with high accident-rates and implement a variety of traffic calming measures, including repainted crosswalks, expanded curbs, decorative planters, and neighborhood-identifying signage. As a result, over $450,000 has been allocated to implement traffic calming measures along North 27th Street, West Wisconsin Avenue, West Vliet Street, and other major corridors to change the built environment.