NEWaukeean: Gabriel Yeager
Where do you work and what makes your role awesome?
I’m within the first six months of my new position with Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, as the Downtown Environment Specialist. Under this role, I help create new community partnerships to reimagine and revitalize our downtown public realm through programming and placemaking. From our sidewalks and streetscape to our parks and plazas, we have a tremendous opportunity to reclaim our most valuable community asset – public space.
How long have you lived in MKE & what brought you here?
In 2014, I moved from Minnesota to attend the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Before I moved, I reached out to Beth Weirick, with Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, which resulted in a four-year internship with the organization, and one of the greatest professional mentors that I could have asked for.
What do you love most about MKE?
Downtown and Lake Michigan. We are incredibly fortunate to live on the fresh coast, and I enjoy watching our community come together at the lakefront. There is an undeniable civic pride along the lakefront during free, family-friendly events, like the fireworks and Air and Water Show. I’ve even taken up surfing on the lake.
What is one word that you would use to describe MKE?
Where do you see MKE in 5 years?
In five years, Milwaukee will have successfully hosted the DNC 2020 Convention and our city will emerge as a national model for providing the highest quality-of-life for all of its residents, including expanded affordable housing, public transportation, and public education options.
What is your favorite MKE tradition?
Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival. This year, Milwaukee Downtown is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the region’s largest winter festival, showcasing what we love most about our city. I always enjoy seeing the chandeliers installed on Wisconsin Avenue and school trees decorated at Community Spirit Park.
What’s your favorite hidden gem or secret fact about the city?
I’m an alley walker and public space aficionado, so I think there are hidden surprises around every corner of our city. One of my favorite hidden gems is the privately-owned public space, or POPS, at 310W, on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Old World Third Street. I’ve collaborated with 310W’s management to activate the plaza, including adding moveable tables and chairs and our new Downtown GO! Kart for a midday recess featuring free fun and games for downtown employees.