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My Block: A neighborhood changed by gentrification

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 16, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Just like turning a house into a home, it takes a special mixture of ingredients to make a street into a neighborhood. However, Desha Wilson says he feels like the things that make up his neighborhood are disappearing.

"To me it changed dramatically. I mean, you see how it is now. It's all quiet. You don’t really see anybody out there. (There) was a time you’d come over here there’d be people outside. Everybody (on) the porch, ‘Hey, how you doing?' Everybody talking to each other,” he said.

In this edition of My Block, TODAY’S TMJ4 went to Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood and talked with Desha Wilson. He spoke about his changing neighborhood and his efforts to turn it into a community again. The people we talked to and the places we went were up to Desha. We just asked to see the neighborhood through his eyes and experiences. We challenged him to be vulnerable and honest.

Wilson has lived in his Riverwest home for 37 years and seen a lot of his childhood neighbors leave.

"I would say it is a gentrification thing," he said. "You come across Holton this way east (and) you don’t really see too many black families no more."

But Desha isn't sitting idly by as his neighborhood changes. He wants to bring a sense of community back to his block.

"I'm working on a non profit organization. I basically want to do it for the kids," he said. "Where I can maybe feed the homeless and have some of the neighborhood kids come help me just to get things going."

By engaging the neighborhood to participate in community volunteerism, this Riverwest veteran hopes he can reignite a sense of belonging and togetherness in his Riverwest neighborhood.

If you would to talk to us about your neighborhood, contact James Groh at james.groh@tmj4.com or on his Facebook page.

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