Cheryl Blue and her organization want all to benefit from Milwaukee's renaissance
This month’s issue of Milwaukee Magazine features the five winners of the 2024 Unity Awards. The awards highlight people and organizations that are making Milwaukee a more inclusive and equitable place to live, work and play.
One of those winners is Cheryl Blue, the executive director of the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. Blue was recognized for her work to revitalize an area of Milwaukee’s northwest side that was a hub for heavy manufacturing, but is now in a transitional period as many large manufacturers have left the area.
As Blue explains, "It's about 880 acres of industrial infrastructure that hugs the railroad and it crosses several neighborhoods, which include Garden Homes, Amani, Metcalfe Park, Sherman Park and Washington Park all the way down to the near west side. This area once housed Miller, Harley, Master Lock, Badger Meter, Briggs and Stratton, AO Smith and the Eaton Corporation."
As Milwaukee continues to be revitalized, Blue and her team are focused on making sure that their areas and residents aren't neglected. "It's a paradigm shift in the hearts and minds of the people that live here who honestly feel a little bit left out from Milwaukee's renaissance," she says. "There's a significant portion of the City of Milwaukee that wants to experience that prosperity as well, and we're here to work to bring that about."
Some ways that the Corridor is striving to bring about that change is through housing renovations of historic homes and creating bike trails to promote clean and healthy transport. They're also working to construct new apartment buildings and build new homes on some of the city's vacant lots.
"So, we have a lot of different projects that are going on. But again, our main goal is to empower the people, to engage the people to be a part of the process to rebuild this area of the city for the people that live here that so deserve it." She continues, "So this award, while it's for me, it's really for the team and the work that we do because there's nothing that we have done that I have achieved that hasn't been a part of a total team effort of people who are willing to give of themselves and their time to help move Milwaukee forward and the 30th Street Corridor in particular."