Pocket Parks

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Milwaukee's HOME GR/OWN works to transform vacant lots into community assets by taking uunused and often over-looked spaces and creating pocket parks! These vibrant green spaces can create hubs for community events, environmental education, and family fun, all while helping beautify the neighborhoods that we all love!

Learn more about HOME GR/OWN's Pocket Parks below! 

  • Fondy Park
  • Ezekiel Gillespie
  • Victory Over Violence
  • Amani Carter
  • Metcalfe Rising Park
  • MLK Jr. Peace Park
  • Scholars Park
  • Sunshine Park

Fondy Park

Located on Fond Du Lac Ave. next to the Fondy Farmer's Market in Lindsay Heights

Fondy Park was created in celebration of 100-years of fresh local food access at the historic Fondy Farmer's Market, an essential community gathering space in the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood. The park was designed with two major goals in mind -- collecting stormwater and providing a healthy space for events and resident activity. 

Thanks to the work of our dedicated community partners,  Fondy Park takes significant strides to protect the health of Lake Michigan by collecting approximately 83,000 gallons of run-off during major storm events (including rain diverted from the streets!) through a beautiful native prairie to store in an underground cistern system. 

A six-panel 1.8 kW solar system now powers the lights in the market as well as free public Wi-Fi, making Fondy Park only the second location in the City with this ammenity. 

On any given Saturday, the park is filled with market-goers, listening to music and enjoying their lunch. But beyond market days, the space plays host to countless community concerts, festivals, and events including ECO's Annual Community Pumpkin Patch, yoga classes, and lots of outdoor family fun. 

More pictures of Fondy Park!
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Ezekiel Gillespie

Located at 14th & Wright in Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights Neighborhood

Ezekiel Gillespie was a Milwaukee freedman, shopkeeper and a founder of St. Mark's A.M.E Church. Gillespie is most known for suing the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the 1860's for the right to vote... and won, giving African American men the right to vote in Wisconsin for the first time.

Mayor Tom Barrett's HOME GR/OWN Initiative, Walnut Way and the Walnut Way Housing Committee chose this site to build a new sustainable park. The site formerly consisted of 2 vacant lots and a vacant home, torn down prior to construction. The park was designed & constructed by HOME GR/OWN, UWM's Community Design Solutions, Simon Landscaping, the Energy Exchange & Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping, employing residents from the neighborhood. Ezekiel Gillespie Park may be Milwaukee's most sustainable park!

Sustainable and Green Features of the park: 

  • Porous Pavers, collecting precipitation that falls on the site
  • A 1,000 gallon cistern, holding rainwater for use on-site
  • A rain garden that serves as an overflow detention area for the cistern 
  • 15 apple and pear trees, raspberries and serviceberries for picking by the neighborhood
  • 100's of native perennials that will serve as a plant nursey for future HOME GR/OWN vacant lot projectsRecent 2017 Gillespie Park photos

BEFORE

Before construction

AFTER

After construction

Gillespie Park wins 2015 LISC MANDI Award for "Best Public Space", a Mayor's Design Award and SXSW ECO 2015 Places By Design Competition!

On April 15, 2015, HOME GR/OWN's Gillespie Park was announced as the winner of the Brewer's Community Foundation's Public Space Award!. Read more about Gillespie Park winning the MANDI! We especially thank our major Gillespie Park partners: Simon Landscaping, Energy Exchange, Walnut Way, Blue Skies Landscaping, Walnut Way Housing Committee, Zilber Family Foundation, UWM Community Design Solutions, McKay Nursery, Mark McCollow and City of Milwaukee DPW, DCD, NIDC and CBGA. We salute the two other MANDI Finalist projects, the ARTery and the Holton Swing Park, as wonderful, recent examples of creative placemaking in Milwaukee.

On May 20, 2015, it was announced that Gillespie Park received a 2015 Mayor's Design Award!

On October 6, 2015 HOME GR/OWN and our design partners for Gillespie Park and the 2015 Partners for Places initiative won the SXSW ECO's international Places By Design competition in the Urban Strategies category, based on our projects' collaborative nature, innovative use of landscape design and placemaking integration. A special thanks to Gillespie's design team: Tim McCollow of HOME GR/OWN, Carolyn Esswein of UWM CDS, Bryan Simon of Simon Landscaping/Energy Exchange and Jeremy Davis of Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping.

Victory Over Violence

Located Historic MLK Jr. Dr., currently under renovation!

About 2 years ago, the ECO HOME GR/OWN initiative was invited to join the existing partership of residents and non-profits looking to renovate VoV Park and create a revitalized, beautiful, safe healthy green space to both remember those lost in Milwaukee violence in the past and serve as a place of healing for those currently suffering from trauma.

Check out this aerial view of VoV park before renovations began!

Amani's Dr. Lester Carter Park

Located at N. 24th Place & Burleigh Avenue in Milwaukee's Amani Neighborhood

This new pocket park, created with resident participation from Amani United, is unique to our P4P initiative. In 2014, the Mayor's Strong Neighborhoods plan did a landscaping treatment along 3 sides of the lot at the request of the Amani neighborhood. Given that strong base, we saw an opportunity to take a site with "good bones" as they say and take it to the next level. This park is down the block from the COA Center and scant blocks from the Dominican Center. 

Carter Park was designed & constructed in the fall of 2015 by HOME GR/OWN, UWM's Community Design Solutions & Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping, employing residents from the North Side. The site has an existing, mature apple tree on the eastern edge. Additional amenities to be installed in spring, 2016. The 2015 transformation is only phase 1 of the overall development plan for this exciting, new public space combining local food, placemaking and public art.

BEFORE

Before construction

AFTER

After construction

Metcalfe Rising Park

Located at 34th & Center in Milwaukee's Metcalfe Park Neighborhood

Mayor Tom Barrett's HOME GR/OWN Initiative and UWM's Community Design Solutions worked with Metcalfe Park residents and a number of Metcalfe community groups, convened by BNCP to chose this site on a major commercial corridor to build a pocket park. The location is a response to the number of local, large vacant lots on Center Street in the area. The site consists of 2 vacant lots with a number of mature trees. The residential input: the park should fbe carefree, facilitate large gatherings and movie nights outdoors in the summer - a neighborhood favorite, while minimizing the risk of small children running into the street or the alley.

Phase 2 plans for a number of solar shades over the central gathering circle and a sundial. The site was designed by residents, HOME GR/OWN, UWM's Community Design Solutions & Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping. The park was also built by Blue Skies,  employing residents from the neighborhood.  Scholars Park may be the partners for Places initiative's most unique park!

BEFORE

Before construction looking NE

AFTER

MLK Jr. Peace Park

Located at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive & Ring St in Milwaukee's Harambee Neighborhood

Activist and local rapper Fidel Verdin, the creator of the 5th & Locust Peace Park and Michael Carriere, MSOE faculty and organizer of Milwaukee's "Gingerbread Lane" neighborhood approached Mayor Tom Barrett's HOME GR/OWN and City Department of City Development with a big, bold plan to transform 2 city lots on MLK and an adjoining property owned by partner Heartlove Place (across the street). Fidel and Michael wanted to create a vibrant, green community space with performance stages, public art, food production, rainwater harvesting and more! Artists Nic Lampert of UWM and Paul Kjelland had already created giant murals for the site, reflecting Milwaukee's civil rights past, depicting Father James Groppi and the Milwaukee Commandos. Given this existing depth of planning and broad partnership, the Partners for Places Initiative's decision to collaborate with this team, providing funding, design and technical support, an easy choice.

After significant neighborhood engagement and a broad community base of partners, UWM's Community Design Solutions worked with the neighborhood sponsors crafting a master plan for the site. Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping was brought in to consult and suggest site changes, including significant removal of now-nuisance trees and brush, pathways and landscaping.  The site consists of 2 City-owned vacant lots leased to Groundwork Milwaukee. The park was designed & constructed in the fall of 2015 by HOME GR/OWN, UWM's Community Design Solutions & Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping, employing residents from the neighborhood. Additional amenities to be installed in spring, 2016. The 2015 transformation is only phase 1 of the overall development plan for this exciting, new public space combining local food and placemaking. #thepeaceplace

Scholars Park

Located at 38th & Clark in Milwaukee's Metcalfe Park Neighborhood

Mayor Tom Barrett's HOME GR/OWN Initiative and UWM's Community Design Solutions worked with Metcalfe Park residents and chose this site across from MLK College Prep school to build a pocket park. The site consisted of a single vacant lot. The park was designed & constructed by HOME GR/OWN, UWM's Community Design Solutions & Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping, employing residents from the neighborhood. Additional amenities to be installed in spring, 2016. Scholars Park may be the partners for Places initiative's most unique park!

Sunshine Park

Located at 14th & North Avenue in Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights neighborhood

Sunshine was conceived and designed to catalyze positive, healthy economic development on North Avenue. This pocket park will serve as an outdoor extension of the Walnut Way Wellness Commons being built down the street, in addition to being a new gathering space for relaxation and healthy living, exemplified by Rainbow Foods next door - one of the area's healthy corner stores. To the east of Sunshine Park is a City vacant lot planted with beautiful river birch and other trees as part of our 2015 Arbor Day celebration. Sunshine Park is 3 blocks west of HOME GR/OWN's Ezekiel Gillespie Park.

Walnut Way and HOME GR/OWN were considering a park at this site prior to the P4P initiative. The site has a heritage in the neighborhood as told by Sharon Adams of Walnut Way in this story. The site consists of 2 City-owned vacant lots. With input from the Walnut Way Housing Committee, HOME GR/OWN and Walnut Way, UWM's Community Design Solutions worked with the neighborhood sponsors to design the site with a "wow" factors. The park was constructed in the spring of 2015 by Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping, employing residents from the neighborhood. 

Home Grown Eco City of Milwaukee

 Dynasty Ceasar


  414-286-3748


 City Hall, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 603, Milwaukee, WI 53202 


 Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


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