The Innovative Cities Lecture Series

Downtown Milwaukee: Connec+ing MKE – Downtown Plan 2040 presentation by Tanya Fonesca, Long Range Planning Manager for the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development and Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown and Matt Dorner, Economic Development Director for Milwaukee Downtown

Lecture Summary:

The City of Milwaukee and Downtown Milwaukee, Inc. are in the final phase of the Downtown Plan Update. Join the project team to learn more about the big ideas and priority projects for Connec+ing MKE – Downtown Plan 2040. The presentation will include Plan highlights: doubling the Downtown population, growing the employment base, expanding and enhancing transit, gathering space improvements, repairing the urban fabric, and catalytic development sites. The project team will also touch on innovations in public engagement, the collaborative planning process with stakeholders, and lessons learned for this new era of comprehensive planning in Wisconsin.


Tanya Fonesca is the Long Range Planning Manager for the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development. The Long Range Planning team manages the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Milwaukee, including ongoing updates and engagement, as well as day-to-day planning and implementation. Tanya’s experience in planning, engagement, and design spans the private, non-profit, and public sectors. Prior to joining the City of Milwaukee in 2020, Tanya worked as a planning and urban design consultant at GRAEF in Milwaukee where she served municipalities across the state with comprehensive planning, code updates, urban design, and planning administration.

Beth Weirick is the CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID 21. And is responsible for overseeing District operations; designing, implementing and managing programs to ensure that downtown Milwaukee is a clean, safe and friendly destination for visitors, residents and businesses. Milwaukee Downtown is a business improvement district that provides services for 150 square blocks in downtown Milwaukee. She has more than 25 years of management experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Ms. Weirick has been named in The Milwaukee Business Journal as a leader in their “40 Under 40” Hall of Fame and a Milwaukee Woman of Influence recognition awards.

Matt Dorner serves as the Economic Development Director for Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21 (BID #21). Matt works closely with a variety of public and private sector stakeholders on Milwaukee Downtown’s efforts to promote development opportunities and attract and retain business and talent in the area through a variety of tools and initiatives. Among many tasks, Matt is working closely with colleagues at the City of Milwaukee on the update to the Downtown Area Comprehensive Plan, as well as championing the effort to build downtown’s first public dog park.

AICP-CM credits will be awarded.

Questions, comments?

All lectures are free and open to planners, students, staff, faculty, and friends of the University. Please contact Jennifer Tasse , Department of Urban Planning Project Assistant at