Urban Issues


The $88 million Westlawn housing project renovation taking place on Milwaukee’s northwest side is an example of residents changing their community.

“The residents are really taking the lead in terms of helping to develop this into a healthy neighborhood,” said Paul Williams, communications coordinator for the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM).

Residents are excited with the new look that the renovation gives their neighborhood.

“They really like how it’s coming,” said Jackie Burrell, president of the Westlawn Resident Council.

HACM worked with residents and design experts to make Westlawn a community with more mixed-income housing and more diverse housing styles.

“The design for Westlawn came out of some extensive community outreach working with residents… it is less removed from the surrounding neighborhood,” said Williams.

Redevelopment that began on the east side of Westlawn will be completed by December. At that time, streets will better connect the neighborhood to the surrounding area, improving traffic flow. Playing fields and 30,000 square feet of gardens will enhance the environment. LED street lighting and rain-retention gardens will ensure that Westlawn is a green neighborhood.

“There’s really an emphasis on green design,” said Williams.

No timetable has been set on completing renovation of the west side of Westlawn.

Funding for the renovation came in the form of tax credits awarded by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to HACM and purchased by PNC Bank.

“It’s a way to fund affordable housing with private capital,” said Williams.

Part of the process is to offer job training through the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership so residents can help renovate their community and acquire skills for family-supporting jobs after the renovation.

“We’ve worked to identify opportunities for local residents to… find employment,” said Williams.

Many residents have helped develop the gardens, and 76 turned out during an April neighborhood cleanup.

“That’s the power of…a community that really cares about where they live,” said Williams.

Westlawn residents are looking to transform their neighborhood out of a low-income pocket of poverty.

“We’re doing this for our health,” said Burrell. “We’re trying to go forward. We don’t want to go backward.”

“I feel so wonderful.” | UV


Westlawn residents aid in $88 million project| William Kobin   

“The design for Westlawn came out of some extensive community outreach working with residents...it is less removed from the surrounding neighborhood” ~ Williams