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The Innovative Cities Lecture Series

Renaissance Strategies in the Historic King Drive BID presentation by Ray Hill, Executive Director of Historic King Drive Business Improvement District

Lecture Summary:

The King Drive BID neighborhood has a long, rich history beginning in the mid-1800s when German settlers migrated to Milwaukee and established a neighborhood by building homes, churches and schools. The area quickly became a self-sustaining economic zone as retail businesses opened up shop on Downtown 3rd Street, now known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The community continued to grow. In the 1920s, new ethnic groups moved into the neighborhood and among them were the first African-American families. Following the community-building pattern of German predecessors, the district established new churches, established new businesses, and created a diverse neighborhood with a distinct cultural flavor. With the challenged economic downfall during the 1980s and 90s, today the neighborhood is experiencing an unprecedented growth in commercial and housing development. The Renaissance is now here.


Raynetta “Ray” Hill is a catalytic leader who has a passion for advancing economic growth and the advancement of people. Currently Ray serves as the Executive Director of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District No. 8 in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Ray is not new to the BID nor the Bronzeville district, she served as Associate Director for the Historic King Drive BID from 2016–2018 where she focused on revitalization efforts within the commercial corridor while building high level engagement with resident groups, businesses and stakeholders.

In 2019 Ray was appointed by Governor Evers to serve on the Wisconsin Housing Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and elected Vice Chair by the board in 2021. Active in the community, Ray serves on numerous boards and is involved in several committees related to local community service and economic impact.

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