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ECO HOME GR/OWN's North Avenue Greenscaping Project - 2016 to 2019

Project stretches from 5th & North west out to 27th & North

North Avenue investments demonstrate City's continued committment to neighborhoods

17th & North: In 2017, City ECO and DPW collaborated with the Social Development Commission to landscape their parking lot and add a bioswale for stormwater management. Asphalt, fencing & hardscape were replaced with a softer, vegetation edge. STORMWATER MANAGEMENT 8th-27th & North: In 2016, ECO and City Department of Public Works (DPW) planned and hung 48 flower baskets on North Avenue between 8th and 27th streets, to the delight of residents and stakeholders. The hanging baskets were rehung in May 2017. GREENSCAPING
11th and North: Our first Greenscaping lot. We removed ugly concrete bollards and added trees and grasses to aesthetically add greenery to the street. The project utilized Blue Skies Landscaping, which is based in the neighborhood. GREENSCAPING 10th & North: From the start of the Greenscaping project, HG alerted City Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) to elevate code compliance at certain properties & doggedly seek aesthetic improvements with HG assistance. MCP's new fences on 10th are a result of that. ENHANCED CODE COMPLIANCE

The City of Milwaukee, Zilber Neighborhood Initiative, BID #32 & the North Avenue Commercial Corridor Team have been working on the greening and beautification of North Avenue in Lindsay Heights since 2016. The completion of the 2019 work shown below will close out the formal stage of this commercial corridor economic development initiative.

With support from the City of Milwaukee, the Lindsay Heights neighborhood and the North Avenue commercial corridor have seen a surge in catalytic investment in the last 3 years. To build on this momentum of neighborhood reinvestment, the City and its partners launched a multi-year program in 2016 to enhance the appearance of the North Avenue commercial corridor west of I-43, specifically targeting North Avenue between 8th Street and 27th Street. In 2017, we expanded east on North Avenue down to 5th Street. New custom Google Map shows the extent of our project goals.

2018/2019 project updates:

  • 2019 update: Lindsay Heights Eco Tour map complete (available here) showcasing our Greenscaping and ISC projects as well as the great sustainability work done by others. The vacant lot at 15th & North, recently used for construction staging for the Legacy Lofts project, will be greenscaped now that it is available again.
  • Fall 2019: Sunshine Park at 14th & North will receive a renovation in 2019 to make its hardscaping more ADA-friendly. And we're adding a new "Welcome to Lindsay Heights" sign soon!
  • Facade grant update (December, 2018): Galst Foods improvements are complete, as well as the Mobil QuikLube. Auto Supply & Repair 2/3 done, Rainbow Foods work has begun and Columbia Savings & Loan in contracting! 2019 update: all projects are complete and look great - thank you Zilber family Foundation for your support of this project!
  • Summer 2018 update: North Avenue from 8th St to 20th St was repaved with asphalt by City DPW. Neighborhood partners led Lindsay Heights' first Jane's Walk, touring all the new green projects and new economic development. In May, the North Avenue corridor was a tour destination for the national Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference, led by HOME GR/OWN.
  • 16 new trash cans to be installed in spring 2019 - done!.
New fence at Columbia Savings & Loan Lighting project at Mobil QuikLube
Big exterior renovation at Galst Foods New signage at Auto Parts & Service
New facade at Rainbow Foods New trash cans
11th & North greenscaping - project #1! Bioswale & greenscaping at 18th & North SDC lot

Historic project work included:

  • New hanging flower baskets - installed July, 2016 - reinstallation: June 2017 and June 2018
  • Green infrastructure at SDC's 17th & North parking lot funded by Fund for Lake Michigan - completed June 2017
  • Landscaped edges and new trees on public and private vacant lots - 1st complete at 11th & North, trees installed at 22nd (and grasses), 29th & 30th Streets
  • Enhanced commercial building improvement grants with parner Zilber Neighborhood Initiative - launched May 2017
    • Spring 2018 Update: 5 North Ave commercial property owners are improving their properties with these grants:
      • Rainbow Foods on 14th & North
      • Galst Foods on 16th & North
      • Auto Supply & Repair on 19th & North
      • Mobil QuikLube on 19th & North
      • Columbia Savings & Loan on 20th & North
  • Re-striping of pedestrian walkways on North Avenue - completed October, 2016
  • Planters added to vacant lot at 14th & North - completed January 2017
  • Blight removal in partnership with commercial property owners - 2 new fences, 3 repainted buildings, new landscaping at 3 commercial properties as a result of City DNS efforts
  • Asphalt removal at 15th & North - completed February 2017
  • Creation of Fondy Park in 2017, a short distance off North Avenue - announced February 2017, opened September 2017 More info here
  • Rubble/foundation removal on vacant lot north side of 6th & North - completed August 2017. More info here.
  • Grass edge and asphalt removal at large vacant lot located at 7th & Garfield - completed August 2017. More info here.
  • Planters added to City-owned vacant lot at 5th & North - completed January 2017

We are proud to say that all the vacant lot landscaping work was done by Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping. Blue Skies was also a major contractor at Fondy Park and 7 other HG pocket parks.

Catalytic North Avenue developments completed or in progress:

Repainting and relighting of Fondy Farmers Market after extensive 2017 work at the City-owned site, under lease to Fondy Food Center.

fondy market at night


Vacant Lot Landscaping

The City began working in 2016 and continues in 2017 to create a landscaped edge on City-owned lots and will collaborate with privately-owned vacant lot owners to improve their properties using the same landscape design principles to create a uniform and inviting appearance to North Avenue in Lindsay Heights. A number of City-owned properties currently for sale or with developer interest will not receive the landscaped sidewalk edge. UWM's CDS worked with ECO's HOME GR/OWN to provide some conceptual drawings of how North Avenue could look after the vacant lot landscaping is complete. These designs should not be considered final designs or indicate that landscaping will occur in this way on any particular public or privately-held property.

Greenscaping work completed to date:

  • Hanging baskets hanging from 8th - 27th street during summers of 2016-2018
  • City-owned vacant lot at 11th & North: concrete bollards removed, trees and grasses planted June 2016
  • 22nd & North (south side): Trees planted on vacant lot summer 2016; grasses and mulch added May 2017 (left photo)
  • Trees added on North Avenue at both 29th & 30th Street intersection
  • Asphalt removed from vacant lot on NE corner of 15th & North in February 2017; planters added on 1400 block of North Avenue

North Avenue Facade Grant Program: 2016 - 2019

The partnership behind the North Avenue Greenscaping initiative has reached out to 5 targeted commercial businesses located on the North Avenue commercial corridor to reinvest in their properties to aide our community effort to improve neighborhood aesthetics, increasing the business climate, "walkability" and perception of Lindsay Heights - and the partnership has been willing to help!

April 2019 update: Five commercial properties have completed or nearly completed their exteriors using the enhanced facade grants:

  • Rainbow Foods - spring, 2019
  • Galst Foods - complete!
  • Mobil QuikLube - complete!
  • Auto Supply and Repair - new signage on western side
  • Columbia Savings and Loan - spring, 2019    

We expect this project to wrap up in May, 2019.

Galst Foods improved exterior New Galst facade & 2018 new asphalt paving
17th & North SDC bioswale -  summer '18 17th & North SDC bioswale - summer '18















In summary, we offered property owners special facade grants which result in an owner spending $10,000 on the outside of their property only paying about $1,300.

Our brochure covering the program follows:


Conceptual Designs for Commercial Property Improvements on North Avenue

These designs from partner UWM SARUP Community Design Solutions (CDS) guide the direction and provide inspiration to both the City and private property owners on the private property facade upgrades to be completed by July 2018. The City and BID #32 are working with targeted private building owners to improve their properties through our enhanced City DCD facade and signage grant program, underwritten with funding from the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative. The facade grant program was announced in May 2017.

To demonstrate the possibilities, HOME GR/OWN and CDS highlighted two private commercial properties to demonstrate potential facade improvements: Galst Foods and Rainbow Foods. In no way do these designs represent the final plans for any site or building or signify the owner's agreement to make such improvements. 2019 Update: For the most part, Galst & Rainbow Foods used their facade grant to match the concept designs below.

Concept Designs Before & After

Current appearance (upper); Potential new facade (lower)

Rainbow Foods Facade Renovation. 1433 W North Ave.
Rainbow Foods Facade Renovation 1433 W. North Ave
Rainbow Foods Facade Renovation 1433 W. North Ave
Rainbow Foods Facade Renovation 1433 W. North Ave
Galst Food Market Facade Renovation 1622 W. North Ave
Galst Food Market Facade Renovation 1622 W. North Ave



North Avenue Streetscaping Partners

  • Mayor Tom Barrett
  • Alderman Russell Stamper
  • City Environmental Collaboration Office
  • Office of the Mayor- Strong Neighborhoods
  • City Department of City Development
  • City Department of Public Works
  • City Department of Neighborhood Services
  • Zilber Family Foundation
  • Fund for Lake Michigan
  • City Community Block Grants Agency
  • Marketplace BID #32
  • Lindsay Heights Commercial Corridor Team
  • Social Development Commission
  • Continum Architects
  • Fondy Farmers Market
  • Reflo
  • Walnut Way Conservation Corps
  • UWM SARUP Community Design Solutions
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • reciproCITY
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