Michelle Kramer

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Where do you work and what makes your role awesome?
I work for Menomonee Valley Partners (MVP), a nonprofit working to revitalize the Menomonee River Valley which stretches from the Harley-Davidson Museum to Miller Park. I love that I get to work with people every day who are passionate about this amazing city and are finding creative solutions to pass a better Milwaukee off to the next generation. One of my favorite roles is giving tours of the Menomonee Valley’s fascinating history – from wild rice marsh to becoming the beating heart of Milwaukee industry in the late 1800s. Follow Menomonee Valley on Facebook and join me for a bike or kayak tour this summer!

How long have you lived in MKE & what brought you here?
I was accepted as a Marquette University Trinity Fellow in 2014 and moved to Milwaukee to pursue my MBA under a social justice lens. The Trinity Fellows program gave me an in depth introduction to Milwaukee’s history, how we got to where we are, and the many organizations and people working on today’s issues.

What do you love most about MKE?
How much room do I have? History, architecture, urban kayaking, our brewing legacy, murals, Three Bridges Park (all parks!), Lake Michigan, bike trails, Bublr Bikes, Doors Open, the Night Market, Ex Fabula, there’s always some event or activity going on, local movie theaters, frozen custard, coffee shops, the clock tower, the Art Museum, cream city brick, outdoor movies and music… I could keep going.

What is something that is missing from our community that you would love to see implemented?
I’d love to see complementary murals at major city gateways (intermodal, airport, and interstates) that welcome visitors to Milwaukee and highlight some of the iconic features that form the foundation of who we are.

What is one word that you would use to describe MKE?
Authentic

What is your biggest hope for this city?
I hope that 50 years from now, the Milwaukee region will be the place leaders from around the US and world visit to learn how to foster an inclusive, diverse community. Milwaukee inspired national legislation on fair housing in the 1967, just 50 years ago. I’m looking forward to March on Milwaukee’s 50th Anniversary and 200 Nights of Freedom starting this fall to provide more opportunities for people to participate in this vital discussion.

What does your ideal MKE weekend look like?
Picnicking and then swinging in a hammock at Lake Park; biking on the Hank Aaron State Trail to the Urban Ecology Center in the Menomonee Valley, grabbing a kayak, and paddling to lunch; a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum; a bike ride or walk along the lake; taking in the city lights from Blu; craft beer flights; experiencing something new (I have a long list!)

What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?
I live in Walker’s Point and love being able to bike or walk anywhere I need to go. Sometimes I forget where I parked because I go so long without driving. I love the bike lanes, local businesses, coffee shops, and the historic buildings.

What’s your favorite hidden gem or secret fact about the city?
I find the story of Gertie the Duck charming. And the Fondy Farmers Market! Any of the restaurants on National Ave. I’m always learning secrets from the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service that help me connect to the city.

What do you think is going to be a game changer for the city in the year of 2017?
More than one single universal game changer, it’s about the collective of innovative activities happening around the city from restaurants like Tandem in Lindsay Heights, urban agriculture, to Milwaukee’s focus on becoming the freshwater capital of the world. No matter where you work, you have the opportunity to take part in game changing activities for the city. Preserve a building, be a mentor, take part in Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s Spring River Cleanup, shop locally…