Jasen Komar walks west down Dakota Street toward South 13th in Milwaukee’s South Side Polonia neighborhood. Komar’s gait is brisk, and he walks with a smile on his face. “I feel like I’m the glue of my family, really.” he says. “You know, my family, we’re going through a lot ‘a things — we’ve been going through a lot ‘a things. I’m kind ‘a like the goofy one in the family, you know — I play too much, I’m outspoken sometimes.”
Michelle Legener stops to ask for a buck near a bus stop at the corner of 22nd and Greenfield. Legener, who grew up near 29th and National, just left the nearby Victory Outreach Christian Recovery Home, a rehabilitation center that takes in drug addicts, about an hour before. “[There are] a lot of good people in this city,” she says, but adds, “a lot of bad stuff happens.”
Casey Dominiak holds a smoldering cigarette between his hard-worn hands at a bus stop on the east side of 6th Street in Hillside. Dominiak, who grew up on the south side of Milwaukee near 8th and Oklahoma, attended Audubon Elementary and graduated from Pulaski High School. “Lived here all my life,” he says in a slightly-lisped, weathered tone.
This story is part of a series focusing on the 30th Street Industrial & Economic Corridor. Davontae Thompson leans against the trunk of his electric blue Chevy Impala, posing for pictures with a friend. Thompson, who grew up in the neighborhood and has lived in the area for 13 or 14 years, says his childhood was a bit of a mixed bag. “It was good but it was a little bit…everybody wasn’t getting shot and killed every day but lot of fights, lot of robbery, a lot going on. Car accidents, cars stolen, radios stolen, windows busted, a lot of kids being bad for no reason. But it was alright.”