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Milwaukee Public Museum relocation inches closer to reality with state funding

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 23:22:07-04

MILWAUKEE — A game-changing development inches one step closer to reality.

The new space for the Milwaukee Public Museum and Betty Brinn Children's Museum will receive $40 million in state funding to help it relocate.

The new museum will be located on a two-acre site on the northeast corner of 6th and McKinley.

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The move marks a new era for the two museums in Milwaukee. Both are moving after decades of service in the heart of downtown.

But they aren't moving far.

This week, the state Legislature's Joint Committee for Finance voted to earmark $40 million for the new location. People already around the area told TMJ4 News it's a good move.

"It's great. Great walking distance. Great for the kids,” said Dominique Tucker.

Across Sixth Street from the new site in Milwaukee's Haymarket neighborhood sits the 53205 ZIP Code and the Hillside neighborhood.

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Census data in 2019 showed the average household in this ZIP Code made just over $21,000 a year.

It's also where Willie Colbert has lived for more than 30 years. He said it's good having education accessible to kids living in low-income housing.

"It's alright, give the kids something to go to,” he said.

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Dominique Tucker's sister lives in Hillside Terrace.

She said she definitely appreciates the move and plans to walk her kids over often when she's visiting.

"It's a good opportunity for them to learn at a kid's museum,” Tucker said.

According to the City of Milwaukee, arts and culture in the greater Milwaukee area generate an economic impact of $250 million annually. It also delivers roughly 4,000 jobs and utilizes more than 9,000 volunteers.

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Museum leadership in a statement said it's important to place the museum in an area that can be accessed by all.

People in the area say they don't fear the new asset will inadvertently contribute to pricing out longtime residents, and believe it will only help educate the community.

“You know, I don't think it would push people out. I think it will bring people together,” Tucker said.

Gov. Tony Evers' biennial capital budget estimated the total project cost at about $240 million. The Milwaukee Public Museum estimates to open in 2025 or early 2026.

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