At the March 2012 meeting of the Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home Community Advisory Council, members finalized a Consensus Report outlining their shared views regarding unmet veteran needs, potential reuses of the district’s unused buildings and their commitment to partner with VA, local, state and national decision makers to make their vision for the District a reality.
It is critical that we illustrate the broad base of support for putting the District’s unused buildings back into the service of veterans, and we need your help. Please consider officially endorsing the Council’s report. You can review the report and sign on below.
To view or print a PDF of the report, please click here.
Click here to view a list of organizations and individuals that have endorsed the consensus report.
To sign onto the report, please scroll down to the bottom of the report and select “yes, please list me as an endorser.” When you click ‘continue’ you’ll be taken to a page where you can enter in your name and/or organization.
The Milwaukee VA National Soldiers Home Historic District Community Advisory Council is a diverse group of community representatives and stakeholders first convened in November 2011 by the Chicago Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance. The Council includes representation from the veteran, preservation and historical communities as well as representatives of neighborhoods, associations and organizations that have a vested interest in the District. The Council’s purpose is to assist and advise stakeholders in the protection, repair and rehabilitation of the District by identifying and capitalizing upon opportunities to motivate the greater community and the VA to take steps to put the District, a National Historic Landmark, back into the service of veterans.
We, the members of the Council, believe that:
- The District, is a national treasure of vital importance to Milwaukee, the state and the nation;
- A number of the District’s most important assets – especially Old Main, Ward Memorial Theater and the Chapel – are currently unused and in grave danger of being rendered unusable;
- These buildings should be restored to their original purpose – the service of veterans – through adaptive reuse of the buildings; and
- The Council is committed to working with the VA and other interested parties to identify, implement and support such an adaptive reuse.
Furthermore, the council has reached consensus on the following unmet needs of the veteran community:
- Mental Health: Additional/Expanded PTSD and mental healthcare options
- Social: Social opportunities, including with other veterans and within the broader ‘civilian’ community
- Housing: Housing options for veterans and their families
- Education and Training: Easy-to-access veteran resources for information, aid and opportunity
- Centralization: Centralization of veteran services
The Council has agreed upon the following potential reuses of the currently unoccupied District buildings (Old Main, Ward Memorial Hall and the Chapel) that could directly address these unmet needs:
- Affordable housing (housing)
- Transitional and emergency housing (housing)
- Art and music therapy (social, mental health)
- Assisted living facilities (housing)
- Employment opportunities (education and training)
- Evening therapy sessions (mental health)
- Group therapy sessions (mental health)
- Holistic support (mental health, social)
- Housing options for families of veterans receiving treatment (housing)
- Museum to chronicle the history of veteran health care in Milwaukee and the nation (education and training)
- Opportunity to locate and interact with fellow vets (education and training)
- Organic therapy/Urban gardens (social, mental health)
- Partnership with existing service providers (centralization)
- Peer to peer programming (mental health, social)
- Office/organizational space within the District for services already available throughout the region (centralization)
- Retreat events for veterans and families of veterans (social)
- Social events (social)
- Transit options (education and training)
- Veteran performing arts groups (social)