“We have an obligation as a community:” Businesses, city leaders work to boost Milwaukee’s near west side

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee near west side is the focus of a new $1 million plan for revitalization. The idea is to lower crime and spur development through the help of some of the city's largest institutions.

Harley-Davidson, Aurora Healthcare, MillerCoors, Potawatomi Business Development Corporation and Marquette University are all putting manpower and money towards one goal -- make the near west side a better place.

"We have an obligation as a community to do what we can to bolster this and shine up this jewel once again," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The Near West Side Partners is a new non-profit organization tasked with transforming the perception of the neighborhood -- and reducing crime.

"We have many thousands of employees. Many of them not only work in this community but live here, we want this to be not only a great place to work but a great place to live," said Dr. Nick Turkal, Aurora Healthcare President and CEO.

Marquette University will be involved in gathering and analyzing public health and safety data to improve neighborhoods.

"If students don't feel safe on our campus, they are not going to want to come here," said Michael Lovell, Marquette University President.

There will be more community policing. The new initiative helps fund more foot patrols by Milwaukee police.

"That creates both fear reduction as well as more community engagement for our working officers," said Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

City leaders are optimistic -- and say that faith means investments and eventually prosperity.

The efforts to reduce crime on the near west side are being modeled after those in the adjoining Washington Park neighborhood -- which saw a 30 percent reduction in crime in the first year of its initiative.

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