2003 Public/Private Partnership Awards

DaimlerChrysler and City of Kenosha (WI): The Kenosha Public Museum

Within the last twenty years, City Kenosha (WI) has undergone major economic transformations. In 1998, DaimlerChrysler closed Kenosha's Lakefront Assembly Plant, leaving the city with a dual challenge- what to do with the land and how to increase the city's tax base.

After an extensive, $14.2 million cleanup of the Lakefront property, DaimlerChrysler donated the land to the city. Mayor John Antaramian sought the advice of the non-profit Urban Land Institute and selected a group of community leaders to identify uses for the land. The group identified a mix use solution for the land, which would include housing and public space. In 2001, several people moved into their new lakefront condominiums.

The Kenosha Public Museum and its extensive collection had been housed in the city's post office since 1937. This space was far to small and only allowed 5% of the museum collection to be viewed. A new space and location could be built on the Lakefront property, showcasing the museum treasures and drawing more visitors to Kenosha.

Once the plan was announced, DaimlerChrysler led the effort to make the Kenosha Public Museum a reality, by donating $300,000 to the museum. This sizable commitment spurred further contributions, and the new, 49,000 square foot Kenosha Public Museum opened in October 2001.

The museums star attraction is the woolly mammoth discovered in Kenosha on 1992. This discovery effectively documents the earliest interaction between man and the woolly mammoth east of the Mississippi River. The Museum is more than a cultural and natural history museum, it also serves as a community center, providing classrooms for aspiring artists and children and loaning exhibits and materials to school.

The partnership between DaimlerChrysler and the City of Kenosha remains as strong as ever. The company's engine plant is the cornerstone of a mixed-use living/working environment, employing more than 2000 workers, surrounded by neighborhoods, schools, churches and small businesses.

The economic impact of the partnership is still being measured, but the new, Kenosha Public Museum has drawn more than 150,000 people since it opened in October, 2001. The Kenosha Public Museum earned DaimlerChrysler and the City of Kenosha Outstanding Achievement Award from the Mayors Business Council in 2002.

For more information, contact Maura R. Cook, Senior Manager, Regional Government Affairs, DaimlerChrysler; 248.512.3348; mrc5@daimlerchrysler.com or Janice Schroeder, City of Kenosha, 262.653.4055;pjans@kenosha.org.