Yesterday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined Ruben L. Anthony Jr., President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, to announce that $100,000 in county funds will go to the Urban League for planning assistance to create an economic development hub for the South Park Street corridor and support minority-owned businesses.
The need for a project like this arose from a series of community engagement efforts that have been ongoing since last year. This included a two-day Community Wealth Building seminar, a series of Agenda South Meetings, a panel of innovative Milwaukee development projects, and which engaged hundreds of South Madison residents, business owners, non-profit and faith based organizations, and city, county, and state government staff and elected officials.
A common theme throughout all of this engagement was concern about South Madison gentrification. However, there was also excitement about the opportunities that were possible. One of the projects shared by a Milwaukee developer at an Urban League luncheon seminar last summer was the Sherman Phoenix - an entrepreneurial hub in the Sherman Park neighborhood providing high-quality commercial space and support for small businesses.
A resolution to approve the contract was sponsored by Supervisor Shelia Stubbs at the Dane County Board meeting last night. Pending approval on August 17 these funds will help the community begin to formally engage community stakeholders and develop a plan for how this innovative economic development opportunity might be advanced.