Reimagining lakefront, MacArthur Square among ideas in downtown Milwaukee plan for 2040

NOW: Reimagining lakefront, MacArthur Square among ideas in downtown Milwaukee plan for 2040

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A proposed plan to reimagine Milwaukee's downtown area aims to address needs and wants from its residents in order to improve the city's health, boost the economy and grow the population.

The draft plan, known as Downtown Plan 2040, was constructed by the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development and Milwaukee Downtown using public input.

You can learn more and read the downtown plan here.

"There's one thing about cities that is always constant, and it is that they're always changing," Matt Dorner, the economic development director of Milwaukee Downtown, told CBS 58 in an interview.

The draft plan focuses on six main "big ideas," which aim to address downtown's population, its parks and gathering spaces, transit, human-made barriers, street improvement and street redesign as public places.

"We saw that over 50% of our comments were really focused around our streets and our public spaces, our parks, and how do we make downtown accessible for all," Dorner said.

The draft plan includes what it calls catalytic projects.

Those include a reimagined MacArthur Square, revamped parks and public spaces, streetcar extensions, redesigns of 6th and Water streets and redeveloping the Marcus Performing Arts Center parking garage.

But the most ambitious plan is redesigning the I-794 corridor and Clybourn Street area which could potentially reshape Milwaukee's skyline.

"You still have additional development along that Clybourn and Michigan Street corridor to connect in that area," Dorner said. "So, the area is still elevated as a catalytic project area because there's more development potential."

While 2040 may seem distant, city leaders say for Milwaukee to thrive, people need to start thinking about the future now.

"I think this plan in particular looks to capitalize on that momentum that we currently have and look at how do we continue to propel and continue to make downtown Milwaukee the best downtown in the Midwest," Dorner said.

A final open house will be held at 3rd Street Market Hall on Thursday, May 11, where people can view the draft plan and offer feedback before the proposal is presented to the Common Council.

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