Ezekiel Gillespie Park Opening
Lindsay Heights neighbors have a new place to gather through a City-led repurposing of multiple vacant lots. Primary construction has been completed on the park, located at the corner of 14th Street and Wright Street. This is the first major neighborhood project of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s HOME GR/OWN initiative. The City and neighborhood celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, September 25, 2014. Residents can admire the native plantings, fruit trees and bushes and the innovative stormwater features.
The HOME GR/OWN pocket park is named Ezekiel Gillespie Park, after a Milwaukee African-American civil rights and community leader. Ezekiel Gillespie is best known for founding Wisconsin’s first African Methodist Episcopal church, and for winning a landmark 1866 Wisconsin Supreme Court case which secured voting rights in Wisconsin.
The pocket park is a showcase of replicable sustainable designs, incorporating rainwater storage, fruit trees, porous pavers, fruit bushes and native plants. Lindsay Heights residents were hired for the construction crew, learning valuable green infrastructure installation skills.
Partners that developed Gillespie Park include City of Milwaukee DPW, DCD, NIDC, CDBG, Mayor Barrett’s Strong Neighborhoods Plan, Simon Landscaping, Walnut Way Conservation Corp’s Blue Skies Landscaping, MMSD, Energy Exchange, Mark McCollow, Reinders, Whole Foods, Walnut Way Housing Committee, McKay Nursery and the Zilber Family Foundation.