Promoting Assets, Reducing Crime (PARC), an initiative of the Near West Side Partners led by the Center for Peacemaking, engages neighborhood anchor institutions, residents, city leaders and other stakeholders to promote assets and reduce crime in Milwaukee’s Near West Side. NWSP is funded through the support of five anchor institutions: Marquette University, Aurora Healthcare, Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors and Potowatomi Business Development Corporation, and much of the day-to-day work is done through collaboration between Marquette students, community partners and faculty.
The PARC team meets weekly and is comprised of constituents from all anchor institutions as well as members of Near West Side Partners. At Marquette specifically, faculty and students from the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, The College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences, as well as staff of the Center for Peacemaking and the 707 Hub are involved in project implementation and both data collection and analysis. This summer, the PARC team has initiated and accomplished three signature projects focused on housing, gathering spaces and addressing trash.
In coordination with Reclaiming Our Neighborhoods, or RON Coalition, the 2022 Housing Survey was kickstarted in early July. The goal of the survey is to improve the quality of housing in Milwaukee’s Near West Side by documenting the physical condition of all the housing throughout the seven neighborhoods that comprise the Near West Side. Throughout the summer a team of students and community members walked the neighborhood inspecting the physical conditions of homes and connecting residents to resources. The PARC student team worked diligently with Dia Henderson, NWSP housing resource coordinator and recent Marquette graduate, to document over 1,800 properties. This data will be used to track housing conditions over time in the community.
Paula Paliwoda, PARC research assistant and a senior at Marquette, kickstarted the renewal of good neighbor designations in Milwaukee’s Near West Side. The Good Neighbor Program identifies rental properties that exceed the minimum requirements of state and local law to provide tenants with a high-quality and safe place to live. This program enhances the quality of tenant life by helping renters easily identify high-quality residential options. With the assistance of graduate research assistants, Paliwoda is conducting surveys at the almost 50 Good Neighbor properties to confirm the owners and managers are still doing strong work within their community to make the Near West Side a great place to live. Each designation will receive a yard sign and a feature badge on RentCollegePads.com.
The PARC team has also been focused on creating welcoming and aesthetically pleasing gathering spaces. Working with Anne Marie Gunn, NWS commercial corridor coordinator and Marquette graduate, the team spearheaded several landmark projects including the opening of the Vliet Street Oasis, where residents and visitors can purchase fresh vegetables, the opening of a new parklet on Vliet Street for outdoor dining, and the installation of several neighborhood sculptures celebrating each of the seven neighborhoods. Additionally, on Wednesday mornings, the PARC student team conducted clean-ups of 27th Street as well as assisted with other place-based projects. Whether it was re-doing fence artwork, canvassing the neighborhood or reporting blight, the students were always happy to get out into the neighborhood.