Listen: Coming into each neighborhood, I take a moment to consider my own preconceptions and what I think I know about that area. While I usually have a reasonably decent platform to start, honestly, Havenwoods was a mystery to me. Growing up, I'd been through the area on my way to the Uihlein Soccer Park and in the past year, I've actually conducted a number of interviews in the neighborhood, but I was certainly guilty of not connecting with the identity of the neighborhood. Havenwoods is probably what most people call "the far Northwest Side of Milwaukee." Labels like this are easy to use, and in this case, that convenience frequently leads to unfair oversimplifications. In the past ten years, the neighborhood has made huge strides — they've identified themselves, organized their resources, and found a strong and proud voice. This week, forget what you know about the Northwest Side of Milwaukee, and see what you can learn about Havenwoods.
First challenge — get the lay of the land. I asked Stephanie Harling, Executive Director of the Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation and neighborhood expert for a tour, so so we drove around the neighborhood for about 45 minutes, discussing what we saw in front of us. Havenwoods is truly a mixed-used neighborhood, blending residential and business like no other neighborhood I've seen throughout the course of the neighborhood project. In the first part of the tour, we touch on the housing and people, a major commercial corridor, and finish with some general thoughts about the neighborhood. See podcast below.
In this second piece, I pulled excerpts from my conversation with Stephanie as we drove amongst the businesses and industrial corridor of Havenwoods. While many factory jobs have fled the city (see the Menomonee Valley and 30th Street Industrial Corridor), Havenwoods has seen an influx of investors and new employment opportunities (just take a look at their business directory).
And these businesses aren't just investing in the land — their also investing in the neighborhood:
Want to learn more about Havenwoods? You can start at the Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation's wonderful website. Also, you're probably more familiar with the neighborhood than you realize — take a drive somewhere between 43rd to 76th Street and Silver Spring to Good Hope and look at the neighborhood with new eyes.