On July 2, members of the Wisconsin League of Young Voters Education Fund attended a Milwaukee Common Council meeting to ensure the council upheld the committee vote denying a food license to the Dollar Tree located on MLK Dr. and North Ave. This particular corner is considered the heart of the historic Bronzeville neighborhood.
In the last few weeks community members, organizations, and elected officials have been protesting the opening of Dollar Tree for various reasons. Community members argue that a Dollar Tree is not in line with the idea or purpose of Bronzeville which is to serve as the cultural and artistic corridor for the African American community in Milwaukee. For older residents, the Bronzeville neighborhood represents a time when jobs were plentiful, the nightlife was exciting, and raising a family was easy. Needless to say, erecting a Dollar Tree in the heart of this rich historical center is thoughtless and erroneous.
In addition to this issue, residents are upset that a Dollar Tree was introduced instead of the grocery store that was promised. A grocery store that Andy Kuhmar was granted a low rate, city loan in the amount of $400,000 to build. A grocery store that was guaranteed to be stocked with a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables. A stark contrast to a Dollar Tree packed full of processed and packaged goods that provide little to no nutritional value.
At the end of the day, the Common Council upheld the smaller committees decision, 14-1, to withhold the food license, in effect preventing the opening of Dollar Tree in the heart of Bronzeville on MLK and North Ave. Make no mistake, this is a win for everyone involved and sets a sends a strong message to those wanting to build in this neighborhood and others that we will not be taken advantage of, that we will fight for what we deserve and in the end we will win. How symbolic that the community came out, stood up for what they thought was right and made a difference than on a street named Dr. Martin Luther King Dr?