Dear Senator Kohl, Commissioner and Mrs. Selig:
Enclosed in this packet are invitations from two accomplished children who live in the Sherman Park neighborhood. They are inviting you to visit the Sherman Theater. As Executive Director of the Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation and as a Sherman Park resident, I want to extend my personal invitation as well. I’m sure the Sherman Theater and its environs hold special memories for you. It was a wonderful place to grow up when you were young, and we want it to be that same kind of place for children and families living there today. We welcome the opportunity to share our hopes and dreams for the theater with you.
Over the past decade, neighborhood organizations have banded together in attempts to reacquire ownership of the theater. We want it to come alive! At this juncture, we believe we have a group of talented individuals to help bring our dreams to fruition Our stakeholder list includes prominent bankers, architects, community development experts, city planners, and creative arts professionals, performers, and supporters.
Our goal for the Sherman Theater is to transform it and to create a professional hub for the arts that would attract local, regional and perhaps even national performances. Our vision for the theater is to develop a multicultural creative arts complex that will become an anchor/epicenter for arts and entertainment in the inner-city of Milwaukee.
A Sherman Park Arts Council is being developed to secure artistic professionals and their teams. The council would manage the venue and be charged with ensuring its success. The theater and adjoining office complex would support graphic artists, web designers, musicians, painters, sculptors dancers and the like The possibilities are many and exciting.
Seven days a week, during day or evening hours, the venue could be used by MPS Boys & Girls Club and other institutions and organizations for offsite use. It could be advertised to the community for events, graduations, and learning opportunities. It would be an attractive option for instrument practice space, performances, professional training classes and much more.
The success of this project would create sustainable jobs, foster strong economic development, reduce crime, and help stabilize the neighborhood. The positive impact on the quality of life for moms, dads and children would be dramatic.
The theater is historic in its construction and style. Formal federal and/or stake historic site designation would give it greater visibility and perhaps access to tax credits to offset some of the rehab costs. To capitalize on this aspect, the theater will be featured on the September 2014 Open Doors Milwaukee tour of historic sites throughout Milwaukee sponsored by Historic Milwaukee, Inc.
The buzz is definitely in the air all over town about this project. We need and appreciate your input and advice as we move forward. Please say “yes” to the invitation from Yoel and Nadiatier. They are excited about the prospect of meeting you. My team and I are as well!
James A. Hiller