Historic King Drive BID #8: Announces new Executive Director

Milwaukee – The Historic King Drive BID #8 today announced Raynetta “Ray” Hill as the new Executive Director, following a local and national search. Hill will step into the new role following Deshea Agee’s departure in June earlier this year.

“It is an honor to return to the BID to continue the incredible and important work that Deshea had advanced,” said Raynetta Hill, Executive Director. “The BID embodies the hard work and strong character that defines the businesses and residents in the Corridor and I am thrilled to continue to move the King Drive forward and work with such committed stakeholders.”

More than 80 candidates were interviewed in the search for a new Executive Director, seeking individuals with key criteria including the ability to gain confidence and establish trust with business owners and city officials, a deep passion and desire to improve the city, and experience in economic development or revitalization.

“We are confident that Ray will excel as Executive Director,” said BID Board President James Phelps. “With tremendous experience and active involvement with the BID, Ray brings the expertise and passion that will enable us to continue our mission to become the best King Drive in the nation.”

Prior to her new role as Executive Director, Hill served with the BID as Associate Director from 2016–2018. Most recently, Hill held leadership roles at CommonBond Communities, including Director of Community Engagement and Fundraising and Regional Manager of Property Management and Advancement Services, leading efforts to ensure thousands of Wisconsin residents have a safe, stable home with support services to help them thrive. Including overseeing a 14.1 million redevelopment project of 90-units on Milwaukee’s north side. Hill was appointed in 2019 by Governor Evers to the Wisconsin Economic Development Housing Authority (WHEDA) board. She also serves on Forward Community Investments (FCI) board and was most recently awarded as one of the 2021 Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40 recipients.

The BID has several major initiatives that will be led by Hill, including: 

  • Catalytic Project: The BID is finalizing a project plan to attract investors and a development partner with a shared vision for a mixed-use project on King Drive, north of North Avenue. 
  • Traffic Calming and Streetscaping: The BID is engaged in a process with stakeholders, DPW and Alderwoman Coggs to develop support to enhance streetscaping and provide for more pedestrian-friendly traffic patterns to support small business growth.
  • Business Retention and Attraction: The BID is continuing its successful work to help incubate, attract and retain small businesses in the Corridor, especially those owned by local black and brown entrepreneurs. Ongoing programs include a new $25K loan fund, matched by North Shore Bank; BID grants; a $275K loan fund through Brew City Match and LISC; and supporting white box grants through the City..

The BID will also continue to invest in small businesses and support major initiatives such as the grand re-opening of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, construction of ThriveOn, the partnership between the Medical College of Wisconsin and Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the development of the Dohmen Foundation headquarters building, the potential for Hop streetcar expansion and the potential advancement of American Family Insurance offices and the Milwaukee Public Museum complex.

Since its inception in 1992, the BID’s mission has been to improve the King Drive District by fostering a culture that enjoys a trendy and authentic retail experience while attracting businesses who embrace the commitment to hard work and strong character that the area was founded on. And so far, expectations have been exceeded. In the past 15 years there has been over $400 million of new development in the BID. BID members, partners, and the Harambee residential community work together to cultivate a thriving community. For more information on the Historic King Drive Bid #8, visit Historic King DriveBID.