Mayor’s Message – January 2020 – Bringing An Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker Home to Tell the South Milwaukee Story (And Maybe Get a Hometown Makeover)

HGTV’s “Hometown Makeover” show is looking for what it is calling “its biggest renovation project ever — a takeover to makeover an entire town.” The goal: “to help you and your community revitalize the place you call home.” They are accepting submissions now, and the City of South Milwaukee plans on making one.

Video is a big part of this. The question is, how do we break through?

Enter, Kyle Olson. Kyle is a 2007 South Milwaukee High School graduate and Emmy-award winning producer who currently lives in Hollywood.

Kyle has agreed to come back home to produce this video! Joining him will be fellow South Milwaukee graduate and videographer Nick Koscielniak.

Kyle is flying in Friday and filming this Saturday, Feb. 1, so be sure to say hello if you see him and his crew around town. We may also want you to be part of the story — I’ll be reaching out individually on that.

I can’t wait to see this project come together. Hopefully it leads to additional investment in our city from HGTV. Even if it doesn’t, it will be fun to tell the South Milwaukee story in this unique way. And having that story told by Kyle and his team makes it all the more special.

We could not do this without partners. While Kyle is graciously donating his time and talents, there are still travel and production costs to fund.

The city is covering some of that cost — and in return Kyle has agreed to deliver a separate marketing video for us, using footage he collects here.

Also, I’m happy to announce Da Crusher Foundation and Molthen-Bell & Son Funeral Home have agreed to contribute toward this community storytelling project. Thank you so much!

We are still looking for additional donors to help fund the cost of bringing Kyle back to town and make these films, including businesses, organizations and individuals. If you are interested, please email me at

And please join me in welcoming Kyle back to town!

Mayor’s Message – 2019 – 2022 Draft Strategic Plan

Dear Neighbors,

Have a plan, work the plan.

Have a plan: Bring stakeholders together to determine your vision for the future, and what it will take to achieve that vision. Work the plan: Bring to life the goals and objectives that make up your plan, delivering on the collective vision for a more promising future.

We are doing it with our 2035 Comprehensive and Downtown Plan, and we will do it with the Oak Creek Watershed restoration plan. Now, I’m proud to say we’re employing this strategy in city government with our first strategic plan in decades.

After months of discussions with the common council and our department heads and employees – including a full-day planning retreat last fall – we consider this our mission and vision …

  • Our mission: Our mission is to deliver exceptional city services to ensure a high quality of life and enable growth.
  • Our vision: Our vision is to be the desirable South Shore community where people want to live, work, visit, and invest.


And here is how we will get there — the five priorities where we feel we need to spend our time, and taxpayer money, as your city government …

  • Accelerate Economic Development
  • Strategically Invest, Improve, and Maintain Public Infrastructure/Facilities
  • Enhance the Effectiveness of External Processes
  • Enhance the Effectiveness of Internal Processes
  • Provide a Safe, Secure, and Healthy Community


You can see the draft plan here, or by stopping in to the administration office at City Hall. We welcome your feedback. Did we get it right? Let us know. For feedback on our draft strategic plan, please complete our feedback form.

We will emerge from this process with a shared vision for city government, and then use the plan as a foundation for our employees, upon which they will build their own goals and objectives, making it part of a performance culture at the city.

Will this be perfect? No. Will we have to regularly refine our plan to adapt to changing realities and city needs? Absolutely. But as novelist Andy Weir says: “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” I hope you agree this is a really good plan, one long overdue.


Erik Brooks
City of South Milwaukee

Mayor’s Message – Supporting the Community: Bucyrus Foundation Offers $25,000 in Grants to South Milwaukee Organizations

Bucyrus continues to leave a legacy in South Milwaukee, supporting the organizations that make our city so special and help so many people.

The Bucyrus Foundation has announced a new $25,000 grant program aimed at supporting South Milwaukee-based nonprofit organizations and institutions.

The city will administer the grants, partnering with the Bucyrus Foundation and its board (including former CEO Tim Sullivan), as well as the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, to choose recipients. Grants will be for up to $5,000 each.

While funds can be used for general operations, applicants are encouraged to use the grant money to drive new or early-stage projects or programs. Funding can also be used toward capital projects. Recipients should improve the quality of life of residents in the city, or help attract new visitors, residents or businesses to South Milwaukee.

Applicants can apply here.

Applications must be received by July 19, 2019. Funds will be disbursed in September.