Lots of praise, attention for Milwaukee's central city


A frequent complaint among Milwaukee city and business leaders is that Madison, and specifically state government,

ignores Wisconsin's biggest city.

In some cases, there is outright disdain for Milwaukee among out-state officials and legislators, who believe the city gets too much from state government because of its size.

That was not the case March 13 as Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch showered praise on Milwaukee as part of the Milwaukee Business Journal's Central City Business Awards.

"If Milwaukee is winning, the state of Wisconsin is winning," Kleefisch told more than 200 business and community leaders. "When eyes drift north from Illinois and they think about possibly moving, the first area they see is Milwaukee. We are very excited about what is going on in Milwaukee."

Kleefisch went on to talk about the importance of Milwaukee to the economic success of the rest of the state and how the Walker administration is doing everything it can to make the city even better, with a focus on job training.

"This needs to be a partnership," she said.

There were even kind words between Kleefisch and Milwaukee Department of City Development commissioner Rocky Marcoux as they chatted briefly during lunch at the event about issues they need to work on, including recruiting and retaining area businesses.

There were many central city success stories in the room as the annual awards recognized entrepreneurs and commercial enterprises whose contributions toward growth, expansion and prosperity are making a difference in Milwaukee's central city and other urban centers across the region.

Several firms were honored, from large firms such as Roundy's supermarkets Inc., recognized for its mobile food market, to General Plastics Inc., a small manufacturer that has grown to employ 75 workers.

There has been an increased focus on Milwaukee's central city from Madison since the civil uprising that occurred after an officer-involved shooting in the Sherman Park neighborhood last August.

This cannot change as the focus fades from the events of last August and the problems that were highlighted throughout the central city.

Milwaukee and the state need to keep winning.

Mark Kass


Milwaukee Business Journal