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West Allis reimagines overlooked Burnham Pointe area

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Posted at 5:08 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 18:08:14-04

WEST ALLIS — A long-overlooked neighborhood is getting a shot in the arm to make it more inviting to neighbors and businesses.

West Allis has been working with neighbors and a non-profit called Better Block to transform the Burnham Pointe neighborhood, which falls near Burnham Street and 60th. The collaboration resulted in a project that is pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly and turns a vacant lot into space for pop-up businesses, kids' play area and beer garden. There is also an outdoor seating area and planters. The big reveal is set for Friday and Saturday.

The changes may not be permanent, but that is up to neighbors and businesses to help the city decide what fits best for the area.

Volunteers and city leaders spent Wednesday morning building an outdoor seating option ahead of this weekend's showcase.

"It has a lot of vibrant businesses, but it also has a potential for a lot of new businesses," said West Allis Mayor Dan Devine.

The goal is to turn the area into a place where people want to stay a while. Currently, that is not always the case.

"It just seems to have been overlooked over the years, passed over. There were always little blips of activity, but it's never been the entire corridor," said Devine.

Better Block has revitalized communities around the world and now West Allis.

"First of all, it's got really good bones here. A lot of places we go to they've actually kind of torn down the old building stock, so here that's a great thing to build off of," said Jason Roberts, Better Block's founding director.

"I feel like it's an area that needs some love," said Daysi Jimenez, who lives in the neighborhood and volunteered to help with the project.

"We want to be able to really give people a look at what we have, what we could potentially have in this neighborhood, also kind of influence what's happening in the area," Jimenez said.

The Better Block Reveal will include food and music. Check it out on Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.