We’re rebuilding Sherman Park together

October 25, 2018

By Senator Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

Two years ago, all of Milwaukee came to a standstill as our Sherman Park community was rocked by turmoil following a fatal police shooting.

Since then, we’ve healed, we’ve grown and we’ve rebuilt.

But we’re not done yet. The Sherman Park community experienced $6 million in damages to the neighborhood and area businesses.

In the wake of this damage, we’ve been left with a real need for safe, welcoming neighborhood spaces for entrepreneurs to thrive and grow.

But out of this need, out of this unrest, rose the idea for the Sherman Phoenix.

The Sherman Phoenix, once completed, will replace the fire-damaged BMO Harris Bank branch with a community space that will jumpstart development in Sherman Park by bringing together and supporting local small business owners of color.

The project will offer commercial space for 29 small entrepreneurs and will bring an estimated 49 brand new full-time, year-round jobs for low-income residents.

Those are more than just numbers. This opportunity for future growth and brighter horizons will inspire faith and determination to continue seeing progress in Milwaukee move forward.

I was immensely inspired by the work that the Sherman Park community residents undertook to rebuild and heal their neighborhood. Residents like JoAnne Sabir, who recognized that the Sherman Park community could benefit from a thriving economic hub that would bring food, exercise and wellness, and got to work.

So when I learned that the project was short of its fundraising goal, I decided to advocate for the Sherman Phoenix in the United States Senate. I wrote a letter to the federal government to make sure this project in Sherman Park received the strong backing it deserved.

And I’m proud to announce that in September, 2018, I secured $750,000 for the Sherman Phoenix project through the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Services, which awarded the funds to the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC).

The funding will allow the WWBIC to transform the vacant, fire damaged BMO Harris Bank building into a commercial space for local residents and entrepreneurs.

In addition to bringing new jobs to the community, the Sherman Phoenix project will offer wellness services, prepared foods and arts and cultural activities.

The business hub will offer Milwaukee small business owners the community support and resources that can otherwise be difficult to find.

I’m so proud to have secured funding for the Sherman Phoenix, and I look forward to seeing the project revitalize and strengthen the community.

I hope to visit the Sherman Phoenix soon, and when I do, I know that I’ll be standing in a space that rose from the ashes and breathed new life into one of Milwaukee’s most cherished neighborhoods.

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