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RNA’s Position Paper on Gentrification

The following is the introduction to the RNA’s gentrification position paper, which will be discussed and voted on at the Feb. 11 RNA meeting. After the introduction, the paper goes on to explain the three main elements in detail. It was crafted and modified by Jerry Patzwald, chair of the RNA Development Committee, and other members of RNA. This is an evolving document, with the version below being approved in principle by the Development Committee. Riverwest Neighborhood Association Gentrification Position Paper The natural environment, plus the diversity of its people, businesses and buildings makes Riverwest unique in Milwaukee. Our neighborhood has been discovered in recent years by a new group of investors and people with a newfound appreciation for urban living. This has caused substantial increases in property values and rents. The renewed interest is based on Riverwest’s location and will have positive results if these new investments are leveraged to benefit all residents. The concern among numerous residents however, is that these increases are well above the comparable consumer price index and therefore present challenges for our fixed, lower and moderate income residents. Part of the mission of the Riverwest Neighborhood Association (RNA) is to maintain a neighborhood that is affordable and includes economic diversity. Our goal in the long term is to welcome new residents and investments into the neighborhood, while minimizing the negative effects of gentrification, e.g., the loss of neighborhood character and the displacement of long term, fixed-income residents. RNA’s strategy includes the following three elements: 1. Educate stakeholders and request their participation in efforts to minimize the negative effects of gentrification. 2. Build a stronger community by drawing on the strengths of the old and new residents and institutions. This community building should honor the neighborhood’s past as well as create new institutions for the future. 3. Leverage new investment in the neighborhood to maximize the benefit to all residents. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 2 – February 2003
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