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State directing $5M in infrastructure money to Milwaukee community center

This vacant building on Milwaukee’s near west side is planned to become Concordia 27, a community center that will offer workforce training and other services to nearby residents. (Rendering courtesy of Quorom Architects)

The state is putting $5 million from the federal infrastructure bill into a project to turn a vacant building on Milwaukee’s near west side into a community center.

Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday the money would go to Concordia 27, which will be opened in a vacant 97-year-old building at the corner of North 27th Street and West Wells Street and used for worker training and small-business development, among other things. The structure will eventually have 30 affordable-housing units for seniors and working families. It will also house various nonprofit groups, including the Near West Side Partners, Milwaukee Center for Independence and Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Center for Independence will operate both a commercial kitchen inside the building and an incubator kitchen that will provide culinary training to young people and adults who have intellectual disabilities or who have been incarcerated. The kitchen will produce more than 20,000 meals a day, many of which will go to low-income students in southeast Wisconsin.

The services provided will include: resilience and trauma-informed care and education for 2,600 Milwaukee residents a year, nutrition and health sessions for young people and adults, annual job fairs and retail-space leasing for emerging neighborhood businesses.

“By serving as a centralized hub of collaboration, innovation, and service, Concordia 27 is both uplifting the local business community and increasing the level of services available to individuals throughout the Near West Side and beyond,” Evers said in a statement.

“This is exactly what we mean when we talk about connecting the dots, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact Concordia 27 will have for the nearly 40,000 residents that call the Near West Side their home.”

The roughly $16 million project is expected to create more than twenty new full-time jobs, as well as dozens more construction jobs as the site is developed.

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