The business of BID#8 is helping local businesses thrive, a theme emphasized frequently during the organization’s Annual Meeting celebrating 30 years in existence held on January 20, 2023, at Food for Health Milwaukee, a new community organization and BID#8 member located in the former Fein Brothers restaurant supply store at 2007 North Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive.
Since its formation in 1992, the mission of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District (BID#8) has been to improve the district by fostering a culture that enjoys a trendy and authentic retail experience, while attracting businesses that embrace the commitment to hard work and strong character that the area was founded on, according to information from the company website. In the past 15 years, the BID#8 has been responsible for more than $400-million of new development within the corridor.
In addition to a brief report on the BID#8 future strategic plans, guests – which included owners and staff of local businesses within the Historic King Drive BID#8 district, BID#8 staff as well as staff from a variety of community organization partners – were treated to complementary food and beverages; a panel discussion on the state of development, arts and business in the districts; an awards presentation and the opportunity to network.
The majority of the food, awards and materials distributed during the meeting were purchased from more than a dozen different local BID#8 business members.
The Historic King Drive BID neighborhood is one of Milwaukee’s oldest commercial/ residential corridors. Its boundaries have expanded north recently. The southern border remains McKinley Avenue. To the west the border zigs and zags along Sixth Street. To the east it mostly follows second street and its newer northern border is Capitol Drive, according to information provided during the panel discussion. The area was first settled by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, according to information on the BID#8 website.
The area gradually saw African Americans starting businesses and families beginning in the 1920s, joining an already bustling small business community made up of many Jewish Milwaukeeans. Today, the neighborhood is experiencing revitalized growth in commercial and housing development, according to Raynetta (Ray) Hill, BID#8 Executive Director.
“This was a special year,” she said in a closing presentation titled Reflecting and Looking Ahead and alluding to the BID’s 30 years in existence. “We have left our 20s and now we have to make sure that the work we do matters. That is why we are creating a strategic framework to guide us over the next few years.”