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My Block: A neighborhood on the verge of a renaissance

Posted at 7:45 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 21:34:20-05

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee neighborhood is on the verge of a burgeoning renaissance.

“I think Harambee is the best-kept secret in Milwaukee, right now,” long-time resident Glenn Mattison said.

The secret is out of the bag now with all the new and planned developments in the area.

Glenn Mattison gives a tour of the Harambee neighborhood through his eyes and experiences.

At Keefe and Palmer Street a new park has been built. At Keefe and 2nd Street an old apartment building has turned into a community center.

5 Points Art Gallery & Studios replaced a funeral home at the Five Points intersection, and part of the Beerline Trail is going to be renovated by a 2019 McArthur Genius Grant recipient.

A community that Glenn describes as once having “open air drug deals” and “a lot of crime” is on an upward trend with a philosophy: creative place-making.

“We try to approach crime from a unique perspective through crime prevention through environmental design, and you can design an environment that can reduce crime," he said. "You can change perception. You can also cut down weeds, change sight lines, add lighting, and so forth. You want to do things that bring people out sit on their porches come outside be not afraid to play.”

By creating physical changes, you are making intangible differences.

In this edition of ‘My Block,’ we met with Glenn Mattison. We wanted to learn about the Harambee neighborhood through his eyes and experiences. Where we went, what we talked about, and who we saw was all up to him. We just asked that he be honest and vulnerable.

“This is an example of what can be done if people come together to work together,” he said.

Watch the video above to learn about everything happening in Glenn’s neighborhood.

If you want your neighborhood to be featured or know someone who would be a good ambassador for their community reach out to James Groh at

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