CSNI Economic Development

What is the CSNI Economic Goal?

Cesar Chavez Drive is known for diverse businesses with unique mix of diverse businesses, a unique mix of western wear retail shops, ethnic cuisine, beauty salons, and a vibrant art scene.  Improve Cesar Chavez Drive and ancillary commercial corridors on National Avenue and Greenfield Avenue.

Economic Development Action Plan

We want to create Commercial corridors that appeal as a destination for families and individuals to spend their time and money,  that offer a safe and attractive environment. This environment can be created and enhanced through improvements to building façades, the public right of way (street and sidewalk), and the attraction and retainment of a variety of businesses that appeal to targeted demographics. 

An environmental scan of the 35 businesses located on Cesar Chavez Drive shows great disparity on how businesses create and enhance a welcoming space for visitors, workers, and neighborhood residents. The entrepreneurial spirit is great but it is a medley of types of businesses, no design guidelines, minimal vegetation, and minimal transportation options. 

The Cesar Chavez Business Improvement District 38 (BID 38) can be the lead agency of leveraging resources for small business development, façade improvements, creating design guidelines for building and promoting the “Lindas Mujeres” (AKA historic Painted Ladies homes).  Not only is BID 38 poised with a vibrant commercial corridor but it is a place to promote employment opportunities and promotion of start-up “Pop-Up” spaces that are economical and encourage small business development. 

Improve the exterior appearance of the building: The architectural details of historic properties on Cesar Chavez Drive could be enhanced and highlighted. 

Activity: Work with the City of Milwaukee to identify 5-10 property owners who are willing to apply for the City of Milwaukee grant opportunities for painting and façade improvements.  Work with business and property owners to conduct Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) evaluations. 

Activity: Promotion and marketing of a successful property and business owner with CPTED evaluation and how this intensive evaluation improved lighting, public safety, and heightened curb appeal

An analysis of the before and after photographs clearly shows how the image in 2011, does not have any curb appeal, the store laced clarity of the type of business, the signage was cluttered, many different colors used with no theme, the windows lack framing, the sight was poorly lit, and a collapsed metal fence collected garbage.  The “after” picture shows new awnings with the business name, well-lit, the use of two colors, and highlights the window and balcony areas with new awnings and a flower planter. 

Identify, recruit, persist, and encourage small business owners to apply for local, state, and national programs during COVID 19. 

Creating a trusting relationship with business owners, property owners, and sharing the mission, vision, and outcomes of a vibrant commercial district in Milwaukee’s Latino neighborhood.  Ability to encourage, listen, and promote applications despite barriers of language, basic accounting, or technology issues. 

Activity: Provided information to all businesses in the Clarke Square boundaries about grant opportunities with LISC-Brew City Match, State of Wisconsin – All In Grant, Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce – Revitalize and Rebuild grant, Cesar Chavez Business Improvement District 38 – Personal Protective Equipment grants.  

Quick-Wins/ Results (as of July 2020): 

Nearly $81,000.00 has been received or pending approval to small business owners from retail, financial, and service owners.  

Appliance store on Chavez Drive:  Federico (owner) responded to a single mother’s plea of a broken refrigerator.  Federico visited her home; the food was on the kitchen floor and she needed immediate help with three young children.  Federico donated a fridge from his store inventory.  The “Appliances store” was an essential business but Federico had no knowledge of the appeal process to the City of Milwaukee, the State of Wisconsin about being an essential business.  I advocated and called Alderman Jose Perez, applied on behalf of Federico (limited English proficiency), and argued on his behalf.  The Appliance store opened on April 22, 2020.  Federico stated:

Lo agradezco tanto, la comunidad me necesita (Thanks so much, the community needs me to be open.” 

Activity:  Create videos of business owners who received a grant to share thoughts and impact on business survival during the pandemic. 

Explore the expansion of Business Improvement District 38

Activity:  Conduct interviews with 20 – 30 business owners on National Avenue Corridor and Greenfield Avenue Planning efforts about interest and consideration to join BID 38, if the boundaries are expanded to include businesses North to Pierce Street, West on National Avenue, South to Bow Street, and West on Greenfield Avenue.

Enhance Security and Safety:

To promote and respond to emergency preparedness, many small business owners have experienced not having pedestrian traffic on the streets or in the stores has heightened security issues for the businesses and property owners on Cesar Chavez Drive.  The “Stay at Home Order” has required business owners to stay away from their point of business raising issues about mail delivery and security.  An environmental scan can be done of all 35 properties to install new entry doors with mail slots, preventing burglaries of unattended mail pickup. Establish an innovative public partnership between Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, Cesar Chavez Business Improvement District #38, Milwaukee, and Ring, Inc. for external business and residential security cameras

Provide grants to support the installation of new entry doors with mail slots for 10 small business owners and another 10 business owners to receive a discounted Ring security system.

Activity: Identity and assessment of security issues with 5 – 10 small business owners about security and safety issues. 

Note: Artistic Business Door Order Idea & Small Business Incubator:  The BID 38 could request a Request for Proposals from small business owners in the Clarke Square neighborhood.

Increase  Financial Education and Skill Building:

To promote and support entrepreneurs, work with emerging and small business owners to obtain the credentials in basic accounting, management, marketing, and technology.  We will promote three commercial corridors that surround the Clarke Square neighborhood and facilitate regular communication of small business development opportunities. 

Activity: Enroll 10-20 small business owners for certification in Business Education Classes at the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute (MEI) or Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC).

Activity: Identify 10-20 small business owners for an assessment of basic business literacy, organization, management, and technology awareness.

Objective One In Action

La Ley Financial Services, 2011 and La Ley Financial Services, 2020