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Kresge Partners with RDC on FreshLo Program

In the summer of 2016, the Riverworks Development Corporation was awarded a planning grant from the Kresge Foundation to explore the viability of a year round market in the Harambee neighborhood. This honor was awarded to 26 cities nationwide, with over 500 applications submitted.

Dubbed “FreshLo” (Fresh, Local & Equitable), this is a joint effort between Riverworks and the Kresge Foundation’s Arts & Culture Program and Health Program to design neighborhood-scale projects that demonstrate creative and cross-sector visions of food and market based community development.

At the outset, Riverworks assembled key stakeholders to help facilitate the project, including the UW-Milwaukee Center for Economic Development and P3 Development Group. These partnerships provide data driven research and strategies to facilitate community leadership and active resident involvement in the project. Residents were enlisted from the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods as “Core Advisors” who bring their local knowledge and insight to determine how the core principles of creative placemaking, health, economic development and equity can best meet the needs of residents and local vendors.

An ideal marketplace will exhibit these four core principles:

  • Creative Placemaking: the deliberate use of art and culture in design strategies which invite diverse groups of people into public spaces, enlivening the entire community.
  • Health: improve access to healthy, affordable food within low income communities while building social cohesion.
  • Economic Development: create living-wage jobs, expand micro-enterprise development, promote enterprise-level training, and contribute to neighborhood revitalization.
  • Equity: expand opportunities for everyone to participate and prosper, particularly those communities that have historically been excluded from such opportunities.

As a result of the planning and research over the last year, the data highlight the need and desire for a permanent community market in the 53212 zip code. With this market, Riverworks is hoping to drive income generation through micro-enterprise development; the creative transformation of public space; bring the Harambee and Riverwest communities together; and focus on food and education to promote the overall health of the neighborhood.

Riverworks is currently in the process of applying for the second phase of this grant, which would allow for the implementation of the market. If selected, our proposed project could serve as a catalyst for economic stability and neighborhood pride in both Riverwest and Harambee.

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