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DaVaughn Patterson finishes cutting a stretch of grass on 44th Street, just south of Garfield Avenue in Washington Park. Patterson, still in tattered shoes and a hoodie, lets one of the neighborhood children help before putting the mower away.
“I don’t have a problem with Milwaukee,” he says. “I work with a lot of people that work in Milwaukee but don’t live in Milwaukee and have a different view of Milwaukee, you know?”
Tuesday morning, a group of Milwaukee residents gather in the parking lot of the Tripoli Shrine Center near 27th and Wisconsin, Fuel Cafe coffee and signs in hand, to depart for Madison. Some are from the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation, others are simply there to have their voices heard. But everyone boards the yellow school bus united in their goal: call on the governor to support a more strategic approach to transit spending.
After giving interviews to one of the local stations and devising chants appropriate for the occasion, they set off. The conversation consists of media cycles and sign ideas; the intermittent stench of manure, invariably, reminds you that you’re still in Wisconsin. They make a stop in Waukesha and are meeting supporters from La Crosse, as well – the mood drips of optimism and resolve. Though there is a lingering feeling that the governor will simply continue to turn a deaf ear, it just doesn’t seem in their nature to not keep trying.
This story is part of a series focusing on the 30th Street Industrial & Economic Corridor.
Robert Stewart stands outside his garage on a dead-end street in Franklin Heights.
Steward says he ended up in Milwaukee because of family and the chance to get a good job. “I kind of followed my mother here – she lived up here; I was livin’ in Missouri. [The city] seemed like it had good opportunities back then.”