MILWAUKEE — Leaders broke ground on Milwaukee County’s new Health and Human Services building on Monday.
The new Marcia P. Coggs Health and Human Services Center will be located at 1230 W. Cherry St. It’s the first time the county will have a building that’s designed to deliver health and human services.
Officials said it will help eliminate physical barriers, create a warm and welcoming location and improve access to health resources.
“Today is a monumental day. I’m thrilled to be celebrating the groundbreaking of the new Marcia P. Coggs Health and Human Services Center, an upstream investment in race and health equity for our community…” County Executive David Crowley said in a press release.
The new four-story, 60,000 square-foot space will be the first new county building constructed in or close to downtown since the Criminal Justice Facility in 1992, according to the release. Back in 2022, County Board members made the center possible when they approved the use of funding from the American Rescue Act. At least $32 million of ARPA funds is being used to build the center in Milwaukee’s King Park neighborhood.
Leaders said that the building will continue to be a “trusted location” with the benefits of walkability and public transportation.
“For more than 50 years, the Coggs Center has served as a trusted location to access health and human services. The new Marcia P. Coggs building is a step forward in our journey to close the gap in racial health disparities and better meet the needs of the community, ensuring our most vulnerable residents can come to an accessible and welcoming environment,” said Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson. “This is a significant part of the legacy of this Milwaukee County Board.”
The center goes along with the Department of Health and Human Services’ “No Wrong Door” model of customer service, which is focused on providing person-centered, holistic care to adults, children and families.
The new center also aligns with the county’s mission to achieve racial equity. It will be built next to the Mental Health Emergency Center and the site for 120 single-family homes that will be constructed to improve BIPOC homeownership in the area.
Notably, the center is also being named after political trailblazer and human needs advocate Marcia P. Coggs. She was the first African American woman elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly. Coggs was also the first Black person to sit on the state’s Legislature’s Join Finance committee. For the whole time she was in office, she served on the Health and Human Services Committee.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Priscilla Coggs-Jones said the new center preserves her family’s “long-standing, resilient, and distinguished history in public service.”
“My grandmother, the center’s namesake, was deeply committed to social change and addressing the human needs of all individuals," Coggs-Jones said in the release. “Marcia P. Coggs would be overjoyed to witness the County’s commitment to expanding access to health and human services, ensuring residents are treated with dignity and respect. Her enduring legacy of dedication to human services remains alive and influential.”
Officials anticipate the center will be completed in early 2025.