Bookmark and Share

ECO HOME GR/OWN's North Avenue Greenscaping Project

Expanded in 2017 east to 5th Street, wrapping up in 2018

North Avenue investments demonstrate City's continued committment to neighborhoods

bioswale flowers
vacant lot


The City of Milwaukee, Zilber Neighborhood Initiative & the North Avenue Commercial Corridor Team announce the greening and beautification of North Avenue in Lindsay Heights - #NorthAve17


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 two years. To build on this momentum of neighborhood reinvestment, the City and its partners have 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 have expanded east on North Avenue down to 5th Street. New custom Google Map shows the extent of our project goals.

Specific project goals include:

  • Summer 2018 update: North Avenue from 8th St to 20th St was repaved with asphalt by City DPW.
  • 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
  • New trash cans - planned for fall 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, located in Lindsay Heights off of North Avenue. Blue Skies was also a major contractor at Fondy Park.

Catalytic North Avenue developments completed or in progress:

St. Ann's Intergenerational Center                   Wellness Commons Phases 1 & 2 (Phase 2 groundbreaking fall 2018)

The Juice Kitchen                                           Legacy Lofts housing/retail project on 15th (under construction spring/summer 2018)

HOME GR/OWN's Sunshine Park (2015)            New pop-up retail stores at Wellness Commons Phase 1 (summer 2018)

Social Development Commission relocation       Walnut Way neighborhood improvements

Sav-U Foods (opened winter, 2018)                  Milwaukee Mall (Sears building) on North & FDL sold to developer Kaylan Haywood (Feb, 2018)

Repainting and relighting of Fondy Farmers Market after extensive 2017 work by the City

fondy market at night




Vacant Lot Landscaping

vac lot edgesThe 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 hung summer 2016, rehung in June 2017

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

The North Avenue partnership behind the Greenscaping initiative is asking targeted commercial businesses located on the North Avenue commercial corridor to reinvest in their properties to build upon the partnership's efforts to improve neighborhood aesthetics, increasing the business climate, "walkability" and perception of Lindsay Heights - and the partnership is willing to help!

Spring 2018 update:Five commercial properties are currenty upgrading their exteriors using the enhanced dacade grants:

  • Rainbow Foods
  • Galst Foods
  • Mobil QuikLube
  • Auto Supply and Repair
  • Columbia Savings and Loan    

The facade grant program is now closed as of 5/1/18.

Fall 2017 update: HOME GR/OWN, B.I.D. #32 and City Department of City Development are actively working with a number of North Avenue property owners on applications, bids and the details that will lead to 2018 property improvements.

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 chose three private commercial properties to demonstrate potential facade improvements: Jake's Deli, 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.

While this is a program targeted to a specific geographic area, a copy of the North Avenue Facade Grant Application is available here.


Concept Retail Before & After

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




Tim McCollow
HOME GR/OWN Program Manager
(414) 286-3748


Connect With Us

Connect via E-Notify Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Browser our photo gallery

How You Can Help

Funds donated to HOME GR/OWN will be used to support City-owned vacant lot projects which coincide with the following HOME GR/OWN objectives:

  • Increase access to local, healthy food
  • Revitalizing/engaging communities

North Avenue Streetscaping Partners (so far)

  • 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
  • Fond du Lac & North Avenue 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