In July of 2020, roughly 50,000 people will flood Milwaukee and its surrounding communities for the Democratic National Convention (DNC).

Whether your municipality is adjacent to the City of Milwaukee or 60 miles away, the DNC will likely have an impact on your residents and businesses. Visit Milwaukee estimates that the DNC will have a local economic impact of $200 million, not including the potential long-term effect that could result from a positive impression on visitors. Hotel rooms in municipalities as far away as Green Bay have been reserved, construction timelines for hotel and infrastructure projects have been accelerated, and local restaurants are preparing for a major influx in diners.

In order to make the most out of this opportunity, preparation for an event of this scale needs to start now. Here are our best tips to help your community thrive during the DNC.

1. Consider THe timing of 2020 municipal construction projects.

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July is the middle of construction season, but the last thing you’ll want to deal with is torn up roadways and sidewalks in sensitive corridors when your municipality has the potential to attract thousands of visitors. DNC attendees will be staying all over the state of Wisconsin and in Northern Illinois. To take advantage of this influx in tourists, you’ll want to make sure that visitors have easy access to your local businesses and Main Street. If your infrastructure projects are visible and distracting, you’ll likely deter visitors from bringing their business into your community. We suggest working with your team to plan construction projects around the DNC to avoid major issues like severe traffic congestion and unnecessary eyesores.

2. Be aware that contractors will be in high demand during the 2020 construction season.

As the City of Milwaukee and its neighboring municipalities prepare for the DNC, major infrastructure projects will be in progress right up until the start of the event. Contractors near and far are sure to experience an increase in demand for services, which will impact their availability and pricing for your community’s projects. Our experts are available to help your team evaluate your 2020 construction season in order to avoid overpaying for work as you prepare for the influx of visitors during the DNC.

3. Examine your pavement, sidewalks, and parking lots.

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Now may be a good time to evaluate the condition of your most traveled roads, sidewalks, and parking lots. It may be too late to plan/budget for a major overhaul in time for the DNC, however, there are steps you can take to improve your busiest roads and walkways without undergoing significant construction. Contact our team if you’re concerned about the state of your pavement or sidewalks, and we can help you explore your options.

4. Inspect visible green infrastructure and native vegetation.

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The draw of hosting the DNC reaches far beyond the temporary influx of consumers and visitors in your community. The real potential exists in the impact Milwaukee and its surrounding areas will leave on DNC attendees. Improving your visible green infrastructure is a great way to increase the visual appeal of your community and leave a positive impression on visitors, increasing the likelihood that they will want to return to tour your community again soon.

5. Keep your most traveled areas extra clean.

Not all DNC preparation has to be major or costly. Smaller tasks like street sweeping and organized garbage cleanups can go along way when it comes to leaving a good impact on visitors. We suggest that you coordinate highway and river cleanups to occur before, and again after, the DNC.

6. Prepare for an impact on your public transportation systems.


If your community has a public transportation system, now would be a good time to evaluate its routes, capacity, and service timing. Are there ways you can improve or adjust to accommodate an influx in visitors?

7. Consider renting out your community meeting spaces.

Does your library, community center, or city hall have a great meeting room? Interest groups are going to need meeting spaces of all sizes during the DNC, and odds are the hotels in your community won’t have the space to accommodate everyone. We suggest contacting local hotels and letting them know that you have available space for rent in order to bring in extra revenue for your community.

8. Encourage DNC attendees to visit your downtown areas and public parks.

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A little goes a long way when it comes to sprucing up the appearance of your community’s parks and downtown areas. Think about small steps you can take to encourage DNC attendees to visit your community and make sure it leaves a good impression on visitors. Can you add planters, new lighting, or temporary signage on Main Street? Can you rally volunteers to help cleanup your local parks and recreation areas? Could you create a marketing video for social media featuring aerial drone footage of your community? If you’d like help in brainstorming ways to encourage DNC attendees to visit your municipality, we’re here to help.


For more information on how your community can prepare for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, please contact our experts today.

About the Author

Ryan T. Amtmann, P.E.

Ryan T. Amtmann, P.E. 
Vice President

Ryan joined the Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) team in 2007. He has worked as a Project Manager and Project Engineer on municipal projects, including wastewater collection and conveyance system design, storm water management and facility design, water main design, site development, development review and general municipal consultation and planning.

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