Pedestrian Pathway Creates New Event Space in West Allis
$27,931 WEDC grant funds vibrant spaces in downtown West Allis
WEST ALLIS, WI. AUGUST 15, 2023 – The City of West Allis has received a $27,931 Vibrant Spaces grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to assist in transforming a side street into a pedestrian plaza in the heart of the downtown.
The Vibrant Spaces Grant program is designed to help cities and towns revitalize underused spaces to build community and attract future residents. Through this grant program, communities across the state of Wisconsin will be investing in their workforce attraction and small business development by creating inviting, walkable spaces in their downtowns, arterial districts, and economic centers.
“Investing in vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and raise families is critical to attracting and retaining workers in our state,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s leading economic development organization. “These grants will help communities create new gathering places in thriving downtowns to draw in residents, visitors, new businesses, and investments.”
As a part of a broader effort to revitalize downtown West Allis, the WEDC’s Vibrant Spaces Grant and a private investment from Walter Holtz, owner of The Deco, a new event space in downtown West Allis (72nd Street and Greenfield Avenue), has funded the transformation of an underused side street into a pedestrian plaza. The plaza, located in the heart of West Allis, will serve as an event venue and community hub for residents and visitors. The plaza will be outfitted with outdoor seating, moveable bars, planters, and lighting paid for by grant funds and Holtz’s investment.
On weekends, The Deco, will use the space to host a variety of public and private events. When not hosting events, the plaza will serve as an inviting place to rest and recharge while enjoying downtown businesses and increasing the overall image of the area.
“We’re excited to bring a pedestrian plaza to Downtown West Allis because spaces like these energize the surrounding area,” said Mayor of the City of West Allis, Dan Devine. “We are very grateful to have partners like the WEDC and The Deco to share our vision and are willing to invest in it. It will bring foot traffic to the downtown businesses and build community within the neighborhood. If all goes well this first year, we expect more private investment in the space over the coming years.”
The Vibrant Spaces Grant program is an initiative within WEDC’s Community Development and Investment (CDI) grant program. Projects were evaluated based on their ability to create visible and pedestrian-oriented public spaces that attract and accommodate multiple users and activities. Successful projects demonstrated that they would benefit the local district, nearby businesses, and the community as a whole. Communities were required to match grant funds and begin construction this summer.
More information can be found online at: https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/vibrant-spaces/
ABOUT THE WISCONSIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities, and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit wedc.org or follow WEDC on Twitter @WEDCNews to learn more.
ABOUT THE CITY OF WEST ALLIS
The City of West Allis is a proud and supportive community of nearly 60,000 diverse residents. Conveniently located between the thriving Milwaukee downtown urban center and inviting Lake Country suburbs, the City of West Allis continues to undergo a major redevelopment with new housing, restaurants, events, outdoor activities, and nightlife. The City is discovering a new vitality as a southeastern Wisconsin destination on the rise for families, young professionals, and business owners alike. For more information visit WestAllisWI.gov.