A Truly Remarkable Year
As we close out the year, we at the War Memorial Center have much to celebrate. 2017 will go down as a watershed year for us because of our many accomplishments.
Lakefront Cultural Condominium Complex
Of these, none is more important than the establishment of the Lakefront Cultural Condominium Complex (LCCC). By the time you read this, we will have signed the contracts that will, for the first time in our 60-year history, allow us to be the owners of the facility we call home.
This arrangement allows us to go forward as part of a condominium arrangement, much like the residences in which many of our readers live. Milwaukee County will own the exterior of the building and we and the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) will own the interior of our respective buildings.
With the MAM opening a window of opportunity with its purchase of the O’Donnell Park Complex, we were able to negotiate a deal and to create the new LCCC. I want to thank Andy Schlidt and Nathaniel Hoffman as the leaders of our legal team, as well as the staffs of the WMC, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Milwaukee County. All parties involved worked in unison to make this happen.
We believe the veterans and citizens of the community will be the biggest winners of all. So, veterans of Milwaukee County, your War Memorial is now truly yours.
To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected
We now have the financial responsibility to maintain extraordinarily high standards and we are counting on a number of sources to achieve our financial goals. We are in the final stages of our $1.5 million campaign to rebuild Memorial Hall from top to bottom. With a herculean effort by our Development Committee of Vicki Chappell, George Gaspar, Andy Gordon, advisor Joe Dean, and chairman Mike Grebe, we have raised approximately $1 million.
The work will begin before Christmas and will be completed by Valentine’s Day.
Any help our readers can provide is deeply appreciated. Don’t know what to buy for the person who has everything? Want to give a gift that keeps on giving? How about making a donation in someone’s name as a Christmas gift to the campaign? Every dollar is important and all donations are deeply appreciated.
Another significant accomplishment in 2017 was seeing 2,000 students tour the WMC in 2017 under the watchful eye of our Education Coordinator, Kristen Scheuing. With the assistance of many of our vets we were able to present to these leaders of tomorrow the real cost of war. Additionally, for many of these youngsters this was their first opportunity to meet real American heroes. They now better understand the sacrifices of our vets and our citizens made yesterday to ensure the freedoms they have today.
2018 promises to be another banner year for the WMC. We have already secured $1 million from multiple sources so that we can rebuild our parking area. Our vets have fought in wartime to protect this land and we will continue to do so in peacetime by setting high environmental standards for this new project. With the completion of this work we will have remodeled the entire War Memorial complex over a period of four years with a total cost of approximately $7 million.
While Milwaukee County taxpayers contributed to these projects much of that amount came through our own fundraising efforts. Time and again, project after project, we have proven that this partnership can get things done on time and under budget. From the beginning we have worked cooperatively to establish the War Memorial Center as a national model of excellence. We believe we are now just a few short steps from that goal.
I wish to thank our WMC staff, our board, and our volunteer vets for a great 2017. From all of us, to all our followers, may you have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.