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Waukesha falls short in Mayor's Challenge

Milwaukee a finalist with idea for foreclosures

Nov. 6, 2012

Waukesha's quest to become a finalist and win The Mayor's Challenge, a national competition headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, came up short.

The City of Waukesha was one of 305 U.S. cities, including seven in Wisconsin, to submit ideas for the competition, one where American cities generated ideas that looked to solve major challenges and improve city life.

Waukesha's proposal looked to add 80 cultural creative leaders to downtown Waukesha within 24 months and support new efforts of existing creative leaders.

These would have included opening new businesses, redeveloping commercial or residential properties or providingcreativeleadership.

Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima, who formed the idea along with whom he called a group of local "creatives," said creative occupations include science, engineering, education, computer programming and research with arts, design and media workers forming a subset.

In the city's submission video, it stated that "Waukesha is a small city with a ton of potential but like so many cities, we know our potential will only fully be realized if we significantly invest in the talents and networks of more creative leaders whose ideas will help Waukesha rise to its fullest potential."

The five boldest ideas with the greatest potential for impact will win funding early next year. The winner gets $5 million and the four runner-up cities get $1 million each.

"We are saddened that Bloomberg did not pick Waukesha, however we can be delighted for other future opportunities for ourcommunity and we will relentlessly pursue perfection," Scrima said.

He added, "We will still work on that goal of augmenting creative leaders in the downtown and continue the momentum of renewal established by Les Paul, our arts community and our innovative businesses."

While Waukesha is not one of the 20 finalists that will attend an ideas camp in New York City to strengthen their ideas later this year, the City of Milwaukee is a finalist.

Milwaukee's submission is called "Home Gr/Own" and it looks to transform foreclosed properties into community assets that improve public health andnutritional outcomes, revitalize neighborhoods and spark economic opportunity.

It notes that the city owns nearly 4,000 vacant lots and foreclosed homes and will designate a significant portion of them for other creative uses including urban agriculture and urban homesteading.

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