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Milwaukee lakefront events had $3.2M economic impact in July

Milwaukee lakefront events had $3.2M economic impact in July

Major events returning to Milwaukee’s lakefront in July created a significant economic boost for the region, according to Milwaukee County Parks.

The July 3 Fireworks Show, Redbull Flugtag and Milwaukee Air & Water Show, brought in an estimated 153,000 people to the lakefront, with 37% of those visitors coming from outside the county, the parks department said. VISIT Milwaukee found the events generated more than $3.2 million in direct and indirect spending.

“The benefits of parks can’t just be measured in dollars as they bring communities together, improve wellness and protect our environment,” Guy Smith, Milwaukee County Parks executive director, said in a news release.

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According to Milwaukee County Parks, 35% of parks’ 12 million visitors last year were from outside the county – including 12% from outside the state of Wisconsin.

“Our parks have been a major draw for visitors to Milwaukee ever since they were created in the 1890’s, however, public funding for the park system currently only comes from local property taxes,” said Jeremy Lucas, the parks department’s director of administration and planing, in a news release.

Red Bull Flugtag at Milwaukee’s Veterans Park

State aids to local governments, Milwaukee County Parks said, have decreased over the past decade while the costs of services have grown.

Per the parks department, projections show the county needs additional revenue to avoid a fiscal cliff in five years – there will be no funds available to dedicate to services not mandated by the state, like the services provided by the parks department, that help make our region attractive to visitors.

Milwaukee’s lakefront will further boost the local economy this weekend, with the return of the USA Triathlon National Championships on Aug. 6 and 7, which will bring an estimated 6,000 athletes and $6.2 million in economic impact to the region.

U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly in the 2022 Milwaukee Air & Water Show

Statement from Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley:

“Our Parks department is doing fantastic work with few resources to make sure our lakefront, trails, and neighborhood parks remain an accessible amenity for all of our residents. But, it is important to note that Milwaukee County government doesn’t have the tools to retain a portion of the economic activity we see when large events like this happen and reinvest those funds in important priorities like helping our Parks Department serve residents.

“County amenities like our parks are what attract large-scale events that generate millions in revenue. That’s why we continue to work with our regional partners and partners at the State to explore how we can retain a portion of our economic activity here and reinvest those funds in meeting basic community needs. The economic health of our region, the jobs located here, are incumbent on a successful Milwaukee. This is a solution not only for Milwaukee County, but our surrounding counties as well.”  

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Gun violence awareness; Milwaukee events promote safety

Gun violence awareness; Milwaukee events promote safety

With gun violence skyrocketing in Milwaukee, Mayor Cavalier Johnson declared Friday, June 3 National Gun Violence Awareness Day and asked people to wear orange throughout the weekend.

Saturday, photos of people who lost their lives to gun violence lined Sherman Boulevard.

“It’s really sad, and it’s hard because it’s really just a struggle when you just sit and think like: Wow, my son was killed,'” said Karin Tyler with Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention.

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Tyler lost her son in 2011. He was shot and killed during a robbery at his apartment. June is a hard month for Tyler; her son’s birthday was June 8.

“It’s an emotional time for me, and I don’t think people realize the different things that moms or families have to go through after everything happens, even years after,” she said.

Photos of gun violence victims line Sherman Boulevard, part of “Wear Orange” weekend

How to reduce gun violence is a topic many people have opinions about.

“We want to be out here to show support to the families, to show support for the community, but to also distribute gun locks to promote firearm safety,” said Vaynesia Kendrick, an adolescent suicide community outreach specialist.

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About five miles south of Saturday’s event along Sherman, Adam Campbell works as the director of training for Brew City Shooter’s Supply.

“There’s a lot of people that have guns that don’t know anything about them, and they get most of their information from movies or the media,” Campbell said. “To reduce gun crime overall, if you’re just putting that question, posing it to me like that, I would say the key is education, training.”

Brew City Shooter’s Supply

Back on Sherman Boulevard, people held up signs and wore orange Saturday. The city’s Office of Violence Prevention said it will continue to offer outreach events.

“We’ll have different organizations out in all types of communities every weekend doing this work,” said Tyler.

The “Wear Orange” event started seven years ago to honor a Chicago teen who was shot and killed.

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Fiserv Forum hosts 7 events in 6 days; sports, concerts, more

Fiserv Forum hosts 7 events in 6 days; sports, concerts, more

Fiserv Forum is preparing for its busiest week of events since the arena opened in 2018. 

A news release says from Wednesday, Feb. 23 through Monday, Feb. 28, the venue will host seven events with nearly 90,000 fans expected to attend.  

Dua Lipa will open the stretch of events on Wednesday, February 23 with her Future Nostalgia Tour to perform her hit singles “Break My Heart,” “Levitating” and “Don’t Start Now.” Tyler, The Creator will take the stage the next night, followed by a sold-out Imagine Dragons concert on Friday, February 25. Saturday, February 26 will feature a basketball double-header with Marquette vs Butler at 12 pm followed by the Bucks vs Nets that evening. Comedian Jeff Dunham will take the stage Sunday, February 27, with the Bucks vs the Hornets concluding the stretch of events on Monday, February 28.  

  • Dua Lipa – Wednesday, Feb. 23
  • Tyler, The Creator – Thursday, Feb. 24
  • Imagine Dragons – Friday, Feb. 25
  • Marquette vs Butler – Saturday, Feb. 26
  • Bucks vs Nets – Saturday, Feb. 26
  • Jeff Dunham – Sunday, Feb. 27
  • Bucks vs Hornets – Monday, Feb. 28

Other upcoming shows at Fiserv Forum include Journey with very special guest Toto on March 12, the Eagles on March 30, Elton John on April 2 and Bon Jovi on April 5.

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Visit to purchase tickets and to view the full list of events.  

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Retired Milwaukee photographer captured community, big events

Retired Milwaukee photographer captured community, big events

The sound of a camera clicking brings excitement to photographer Robert Bell. 

“It’s like a machine gun,” Bell said. 

Robert Bell has been firing off rounds of film for much of his adult life. He used his passion to capture community and monumental Milwaukee events for decades. 

“I used to work for the Milwaukee Times, Milwaukee Courier and I just went at it,” Bell said. “What I like about those jobs is I was in the mix and being in the mix, I was taking pictures of history.

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Hundreds of photographs line the walls of Bell’s home studio. From local political leaders to former First Lady Michelle Obama and Former President Barack Obama on the campaign trail. 

“I was at one of Barack Obama’s affairs. He was shaking hands and I went snap snap snap the picture and I caught him,” Bell said. 

The retired photographer is grateful for the adventures. 

“I learned from people, and I met a lot of people when I took those pictures. It was a reward to me,” he said. 

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Most photographers capture moments. Robert Bell captured life’s bigger picture. Finding joy in the journey.  

“Once you find that enjoyment, just do it and do it the best you can,” Bell said. “It’s not all about the money. It’s just being able to take pictures.”