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Spring & Summer 2019:

After a brutal spring for landscapers and outside projects, Blue Skies Landscaping finished the expansion of the stormwater management system at Fondy Park, increasing capacity by 30%, as part of our joint sustainability and resiliency initiative with the Institute for Sustainable Communities. The ISC project added 4 solar installations and 3 major stormwater management/green infrastructure projects in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood. 

Work continues on our upgrades at 3 2015 HG Partners for Places pocket parks in the Amani and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods. New fruit trees, shrubs and a new stump walk were added at the Amani Orchard. Metcalfe Rising Park now has an ADA-friendly grill on top of the amenities added last fall. Carter Park received a beautiful new, ADA-friendly bluestone hardscape funded by the City, aligning with NML's goal of lifting the quality of these 3 sites. 

The Neighborhood Beautification initiative is in full swing. Our partnerships completed new pocket parks at 18th & Mitchell and near Northridge. 34 new trash cans were installed on North and Fond du Lac Avenues, Center Street with additions on National Ave soon. Art projects in the Garden Homes and Lindsay Heights neighborhoods were completed. New signage is in the works on North Avenue, in Promise Zone neighborhoods and in the southside Green Corridor. In total, we have 25 projects completed or in progress.

Fondy Park sponsored several events, becoming a true "town center": Saturday yoga (sponsored by HOME GR/OWN), a Friday night music series, Walnut Way's Harvest Fest and more. HG-sponsored yoga also occurred at Ezekiel Gillespie Park, which turned 5 years old this summer!

Spring/Summer 2019 Highlights
fondy carter park
Fondy Park in full swing - Harvest Day 2019 New hardscape at 2015 HG Carter Park
NIB's new Seeds of Hope Garden, 18th & Mitchell Newly stained Fondy stage and new signage
Neighborhood branding in the works 35 new trash cans across city


December, 2018: City of Milwaukee named a Semi-Finalist in the 2019 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize

Our co-application, highlighting the collaboration between HOME GR/OWN, the Zilber family Foundation and all of our partners across the City of Milwaukee is honored to be considered a Semi-Finalist, along with 37 other communities across the nation.

Fall, 2018: 

In November, solar power came to Fondy Farmers Market and Park thanks to partners Arch Electric, Milwaukee Shines and funder Institute for Sustainable Communities.

6 panels totaling 1.8 kW were installed on the main, gray roof at the Market by Arch using an innovative solar installer job shadowing program created by partners Walnut Way and Cream City Conservation. Three shadowers were hired by Arch to do multiple solar installations in Lindsay Heights under the ISC grant in an effort to increase diversity in the growing solar installation field in Milwaukee. Solar installations under the grant also occurred at the Walnut Way Center and Innovations and Wellness Commons in Lindsay Heights. The last solar installation will be at Alice's Garden this winter.

The stormwater collection system will also be expanded under the ISC grant with Rozga Solutions, Inc. teaming up with Blue Skies Landscaping to get the work done before spring 2019.

As part of the 2016-2019 #NorthAveGreenscaping project, 2 North Avenue commercial businesses completed their facade improvements underwritten by City Cepartment of City Development and the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative: Galst Foods on 16th & North Avenue and the Mobil QuikLube on 19th & North Avenue. Three projects remain to be completed.

The annual ECO HOME GR/OWN Pumpkin Patch took place on October 20th and was expanded to 4 locations this year with the help of partner Pete's Fruit Markets: Fondy Park, Victory over Violence Park, Clark Square and Safe & Sound. Over 350 pumpkins were given away between 10-1pm that day.

Panels installed Views of panels install
park solar
Lift to get panels on roof Installing electrical
Victory Park pumkins Fondy Park pumpkins

Summer, 2018: 

August 25, 2018: Mayor Tom Barrett announces at a press event at Fondy Park that Fondy Park is the first City park to offer free public WI-FI. Fondy Park is the first addition to the City's public WI-FI network in 15 years.

Did you know HOME GR/OWN has been mentioned in 9 books? Yes, we were as surprised as you!

  • As part of the 2018 Milwaukee City Budget, ECO's HOME GR/OWN received $165,000 for the new Neighborhood Investment beautification Program. The program and funding were approved by the Milwaukee Common Council in July, 2018. HOME GR/OWN has been working with neighborhood groups, business improvement districts, commercial corridors and City departments since January to lay out a cohesive plan for the spending of these funds in 2018 and 2019. Projects already underway:
    • A revitalization of the Victory over Violence Park at MLK Drive and Center St with partners Groundwork Milwaukee and Historic King Drive B.I.D. #8, among others,
    • The creation of the first butterfly garden at Butterfly park, 38th & Meinecke,
    • Funding for landscaping at CommonBond's new GlenBrook Park adjacent to the old Northridge mall property on the City's northwest side,
    • A major emphasis on trash and trash clean-up efforts across the City as part of a new HOME GR/OWN collaboration with Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful,
    • Coordination with the Milwaukee Christian Center on a project in the south side Muskego Way neighborhood,
    • New and improved Green corridor signage in the south side 13th aldermanic district
    • and more to be announced soon.
  • As part of the North Avenue Greenscaping Project, now in its final year, the City and the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative have awarded enhanced facade and signage grants to the following Lindsay Heights North Avenue commercial businesses:
    • Galst Foods
    • Auto Repair and Supply
    • Mobil Quiklube
    • Columbia Savings and Loan
    • Rainbow Foods  - Watch for the building improvements through the remainder of 2018.
    • North Avenue was repaved between 8th and 20th Streets in July, along with new corner curbing.
  • Fondy Park, which opened in September, 2017, began Phase 2 of its improvements:
    • New main corner sign installed
    • New herb garden installed
    • New pollinator garden installed
    • New rain garden installed, along with final site landscaping
    • Fondy Park programming was expanded with a yoga series and bee education classes underwritten by HOME GR/OWN.
  • Planning & design of a solar power addition to Fondy Park and stormwater management expansion are underway with late summer/fall installations. Primary funding for both from City ECO and Walnut Way's 2018 grant from the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). HOME GR/OWN and Walnut Way also planning for major stormwater management/green infrastructure (GI) additions at Alice's Garden (inc. solar) with partners Alice's Garden, MMSD and Reflo and a new GI installation at Galillee church on Teutonia Ave. in Lindsay Heights.
  • With generous funding from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, HOME GR/OWN is adding significant 2018 upgrades to 3 2015 HG Partners for Places pocket parks in the Amani and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods.   

May, 2018: Well, spring finally arrived in Wisconsin! What has HOME GR/OWN been up to?

  • With financial help from the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative, Milwaukee-based Edge Grain installed the roof at the Fondy Park stage during some brutal March and April weather, photo below.
  • Our City Hall CSA recruitment was a success with 25 City Hall staffers signing up for CSAs with pick-up right here at City Hall. This year, we are working with 2 farmers: Springdale and Cream City Farms.
  • The tulips and daffodils are up i HOME GR/OWN pocket parks and the trees are in bloom!
  • We thank the NML Foundation for their recent $40,000 grant to HOME GR/OWN to maintain and add new amenities in 2018 and 2019 to the pocket parks built in 2015 in the Amani and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods! The concept for additions to Metcalfe Rising Park at 34th & Center are shown below.
  • As part of our North Avenue greenscaping project, five commercial properties between 14th - 20th and North have qualified for enhanced facade grants, with upgrades to occur this year. Rainbow Foods, Galst Foods, Auto Repair & Supply, Columbia Savings & Loan and Mobil QuikLube will all be receiving external building enhancements, again financial help from the City Department of City Development and again the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative.
  • Final landscaping around the Fondy Park stage is out for bid. Installation of a new rain garden and pollinator garden will begin soon. The big Fondy Park corner sign going up soon. Educational signage in design for summer install.
  • As part of the new Institute for Sustainable Communities grant, Walnut Way and ECO are planning for 4 new solar installations and associated job training/shadowing in Lindsay Heights. Locations: Alice's Garden, Fondy Park, Wellness Commons and the Walnut Way Center. The grant will also help fund new stormwater management features at Greater Galillee Church, Alice's Garden and an expansion of the existing system at Fondy Park.
  • The North Avenue Greenscaping project, pocket parks and North Avenue development were featured for the 1st time in 2 Jane's Walks, 1 led by HOME GR/OWN and Sharon Adams, as part of the national Jane's Walks events to honor the work of urban planner Jane Jacobs. More info on other May Milwaukee neighborhood walks here.
  • The Lindsay Heights/North Avenue commercial corridor improvements, new economic development, pocket parks and other sustainability features were showcased in mid-May through 2 HOME GR/OWN-sponsored walking tours with partners UWM Community Design Solutions and Walnut Way, as part of the national Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference in Milwaukee May 15-17.

Summer 2018

Alice's Garden GI and solar partners planning September 2018 install: Rozga, GZA, Blue Skies, Reflo Tim and Operation Deam young men who volunteered to help maintain HG pocket parks.
alice planning
Metcalfe Rising park upgrades via NML
Foundation grant: shade sails, grill, ADA
tables & benches
Mayor Barrett surprising Lindsay Heights neighborhood at Fondy Park with Fondy
WIFI free public access announcement
Scenes from summer at Fondy Park Tim and new friend at Healthy Soils
meeting at HG's Metcalfe Rising Park
Clark Square Neighborhood night with ECO sidewalk chalk art contest sponsored by
Thanks Northwestern Mutual volunteers
for the help maintaining Carter Park and
the Amani Community Orchard!

Spring 2018

New Fondy stage roof (front view) New Fondy stage (rear view)
roof roof rear
Spring tulips at Sunshine Park Spring daffodils at Fondy Park
tulips daffodils
Jeremy Davis of Blue Skies at RVP Workshop Tim McCollow talking to RVP Workshop
in EG Park
Jeremy Davis Tim McCollow
Jane's Walk: Sharon Adams at Walnut Way Fondy park bioswale during May rain storm
Sharon Adams Fondy in May
2017 native plants seeded in bioswale emerging Fondy native plant seedlings emerging
in prairie
bioswale prairie seedlings
Some of Fondy Park's 19 new trees in
Fondy Park border perennials and
tulips emerge
tree blossoms tulips
Tim talking Fondy Park during Jane's
Concept for NML-funded 34th & Center
park additions
McCollow Janes Walk concept drawing


Winter 2017/2018

CSA DAY, February 23rd CSA DAY, February 23rd
ISC/Walnut Way Design Sessions ISC/Walnut Way Design Sessions
Gilespie Park preventing flooding, Feb 20 Fondy Park managing rainfall, Feb 20





















On March 15, 2018, the partners that created Fondy Park were awarded a prestigious LISC Milwaukee MANDI Award for "Best Public Space" in the City! You can read more about the "Oscars style" awards ceremony here. ECO HOME GR/OWN is proud to have won 2 MANDI Awards for Public Space in the last 4 years and we are 2 for 2 on Awards night! HOME GR/OWN and our partners won 2015 MANDI for the Ezekiel Gillespie Park project.

On February 23, City ECO, Health and HR departments partnered with the Milwaukee Food Council, Springdale Farm and Cream City Farm to celebrate national CSA Day. The event increased awareness of CSAs as another option to increase access to healthy, local food (a HOME GR/OWN & ReFreshMKE stated goal), encouraged local workplaces to become 2018 CSA drop-off locations and kicked off CSA sign-ups for City Hall staff. More info on Milwaukee CSAs here.

On January 30, we announced that the City of Milwaukee ECO and Walnut Way Conservation Corps have a won a major grant to promote and install solar and stormwater management in Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights Neighborhood in 2018. The competitive, national grant from the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) names Walnut Way as one of their new Partners for Resilient Communities. ECO, Walnut Way and stakeholders will work to complete up to 4 solar power installations and at least 1 stormwater management project in Lindsay Heights in 2018. We will also be creating a solar installer job training program for residents of color and working with residents to make Lindsay Heights one of Milwaukee's first ECO Neighborhoods. More information on this project here.

On December 5, 2017, Milwaukee's Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) announced its 2018 MANDI Awards Finalists and HOME GR/OWN and partners' Fondy Park was named a Finalist in the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Category! Stories on the Finalists can be found here and here and here.

On October 4, 2017, HOME GR/OWN was featured in a national Civil Eats story about the success of Milwaukee's urban agriculture movement.

Also on October 4th, the Environmental Collaboration Office took part is a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of urban agriculture in Milwaukee, along with Central Greens.

On September 16, 2017, the City and its partners opened the new Fondy Park eco-park as part of the Fondy Food Center Centennial Event. In February, 2017, Mayor Tom Barrett announced the creation of Fondy Park, on a vacant lot adjacent to the popular North Side Fondy Farmers Market.  The public/private partnership building the park is is led by ECO City of Milwaukee's HOME GR/OWN initiative, Fondy Food Center, ReciproCITY, Reflo, the Mayor's Strong Neighborhoods Plan, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Fund for Lake Michigan, City DCD, DPW Forestry & Sewers, UWM's Community Design Solutions, GZA, Energy Exchange, ArtWorks for Milwaukee and more. In October, Fondy Park was named MMSD's Green Luminary for its innovative stormwater management at the site.

The park was built by Simon Landscaping, Rozga Plumbing, Blue Skies Landscaping, David J Frank Landscaping, Allcon Electric, DPW Streetlighting, Edge Design, Walnut Way, and Ray Chi. The former partial construction site has been vacant for over 35 years.

Summer/Fall 2017

ribbon cutting planters
Fondy Park Ribbon-Cutting Marina Lee artwork installed at HG's Carter park, feat. Alderman Khalif Rainey
planters message board
Planters installed at 22nd & Locust HG Orchard - created by Ann Wydeven & residents shown Blanche Brown artwork installed at 24th & Burleigh HG Carter Park

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