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Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian speaks to the press at the a press conference held at the Civil War Museum announcing listening sessions in the city following social unrest. Photo by Daniel Thompson/The Uptown Observer.

KENOSHA ⏤ For its mayor, Kenosha needs to focus on its youth as future leaders of the community.

Mayor John Antaramian, in an interview with the Observer Friday, commented on the smooth operation of the local election process. 

However, in looking to the next few years, the mayor states that he wants the city to focus on rebuilding relationships and on youth. Part of doing this will also be developing opportunities for youth in Uptown as it rebuilds.

‘Work on relationships’

The first thing that Antaramian mentioned when talking about the next year or two in the city is rebuilding relationships on the local level.

“The relationships between  the community and the police department; relationships between the community and the educational aspects … those types of things are very important for us to be looking at,” he said. “And listening and doing some things to try to improve relationships with people.

“So I think that will be part of what we are doing.”

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‘Hope for the future’

Rebuilding relationships will also entail making sure that Kenosha’s youth “have hope for the future.”

“We need to have them look at their future and realize that there is a future, an exciting future for them here,” he said. “Not someplace else. 

“What we need to do to keep our young people in Kenosha and to give them opportunities to grow and prosper and to literally become the next policemen, the next firemen, the next teacher, the next mayor, the next carpenter … whatever it is that their goal is or that they wish to do in their lives, we need to make sure that we have the programming and some opportunities in place to help them reach their goals.”

John Antaramian, Kenosha mayor

Changing types of industry

In order to bring more opportunities for youth, Antaramian wants to look at bringing in different types of industry.

ICYMI: Burned out cars cleaned up at car lot on Sheridan Road.

“We need to create more of an entrepreneurial class,” he said. “These young people are going to go places and do things where they believe they have a future to do it. And, I think, helping people create their own companies and their own job-type situations are things we can do.”

He added that there’s “so many things that we can do, and will do.”

“It’s just now a matter of putting things together and moving forward,” he said. “And I think you’re going to see a lot of that coming forward over the next six months to a year.”

The Outposts

Not only does he want to see the city offer employment opportunities, but also more development opportunities for youth.

Antaramian, who grew up in Kenosha’s Roosevelt Park neighborhood, recalled as a kid being able to go to one of the outposts in local parks. There, someone was on hand to teach kids certain skills or help them get pick-up games going at the park.

“All of that activity that they could do, they tied the young people into doing things. And to me, that was one of the things growing up that I thought was so important to myself and to the community.”

John Antaramian, Kenosha mayor

Tying into local schools

Though the outposts at the parks were sponsored by a nonprofit originally, they have been revived in partnership with the city, the mayor said. So far, the city has revived outposts in Roosevelt, Lincoln Park and the Wilson neighborhood.

The city has also tied into some of the local schools, including some elementary schools and one middle school.

“Lincoln Middle School, we tied in to. And we were looking to expand that into Washington this year, and Washington Bowl being another one of those parks we planned to put activities in,” he said, adding COVID-19 changed those plans.

‘Continue to grow’

These efforts are some of the big pushes residents can see coming out of the city over the next year, the mayor said.

“Though we started a few years ago, and it’s taken some time to raise the funds to be able to do this, because we have to hire people through the non-for-profits, but those types of things are happening,” he said. “And they’re going to continue to happen and continue to grow.

“That’s the focus, in my opinion, or one of the focuses we have to have. Targeting our young people so that they see a future, No. 1, and No. 2, that they help create what that future will be.”

Announcements coming for Uptown, Chrysler site

Though remaining vague on the specific plans, Antaramian also promised development news concerning the Chrysler site “in the not too distant future.”  

“And the Uptown plan. And that will be coming out sooner rather than later on steps we’re taking over there.

John Antaramian, Kenosha mayor

“So that’s something, I think, the people will find fascinating and interesting as to what we’re going to do,” he added. And an opportunity for the community, for all the neighborhoods around it and the community in general.”

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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Daniel Thompson is an independent journalist and the founder of The Uptown Observer based in the Kenosha, Wis., area. He started in journalism at the Western Nebraska Observer in 2012 and, most notably,...