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Unique partnerships help start revitalization efforts in Milwaukee neighborhood

Local and state partnerships have helped kick-start a neighborhood revitalization project that's four decades in the making.

\"We're standing on a spot that's been a vacant lot for over 40 years,\" Walnut Way Conservation Corp. Director of Programs Sharon Adams said.

The vacant lot and vacant building on the southwest corner of 16th and North Avenue will become a bustling corner with fresh food, employment opportunities and more.

\"Everybody knows this is a great positive step for Milwaukee and the district,\" Milwaukee City Alderman Russell Stamper said.

That's the goal at least.

\"This is so important because we are claiming now revitalization,\" Adams said. \"We're claiming that it will be a spot to restore.\"

Adams says the area near 16th and North avenue needs help.

\"We completed market research and showed that there's $40 million in these zip code areas that are leaving out of the community because they don't have access in the community,\" Adams said. \"That's huge.\"

The development will include two phases. Phase I renovates the existing building and includes a healthy foods oasis with small retail shops, food service training, and commercial kitchen.

\"There will be all kinds of food hubs,\" Adams said. \"Fondy Foods Center, which is one of the oldest markets in our community, also there will be Outpost Natural Foods, the Juice Kitchen and Milwaukee Center for Independence.\"

Phase two will add a second building providing additional services the neighborhood desperately needs.

\"Wellness services, we'll have employment and economic development services,\" Adams added.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation awarded a $413,750 grant to help the project. Construction has started on the vacant building for phase I. Organizers hope it will be done by late summer or early fall.

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