The idea that every child â€“ at every school â€“ in Milwaukee deserves green space is one to which I subscribe. I've been a cheerleader for projects at Brown Street School, Fernwood and Maryland Avenue Montessori, 81st Street School and others.
Today, Tippecanoe-Dover parent Erin Dentice shared plans for greening some of the space at that Bay View school's playground. (Next year the campus' two programs will be officially merged under the name Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts, in reference to the school's location across from Humboldt Park.)
Dentice had a vague plan to green the sea of asphalt that rages behind the unassuming modernist facade of the former Fritsche Middle School on Howell Avenue, just north of Oklahoma Avenue.
When she approached a nearby Home Depot with the idea to collaborate, she learned the store was already working with the district to get a new tot lot up and running at the school. That work is already underway (and so is work on installing a new playset at Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning (WCLL), in the former Sarah Scott Middle School on 12th and Vliet Streets. That's another schoolyard that could use some green space).
With the support of the store and the school's principal, Jeff Krupar â€“ who will retire next month â€“ Dentice brought in a landscape designer to draw up plans to encircle the tot lot with green space.
Krupar also asked that Dentice consider adding some wow factor to the long, narrow front lawn.
Now, there are plans to add raised beds out front, which teachers can use to help kids learn about gardening and nature, and a portion of the planned green space out back appears set to become a reality in late June. How much will be accomplished immediately depends on the financial support Dentice can muster.
But even if it's just a piece, that start can help lead to the completion â€“ and, hopefully, further expansion of the plan later on. That, she says, will help meet the project's objectives:
- Ensure landscapes support safe outdoor learning in tandem with all aspects of education including socialization tools for school-aged children.
- Develop a greater sense of pride for those attending and working at the school, vested interest in the general environment and a source of inspiration for art-related activities.
- Make changes in our surroundings so they will be more beautiful, useful, convenient, functional, ecologically sound and easily maintained.
- Create an aesthetically pleasing focal point for the community that stimulates interest in the school through curb appeal.
Dentice promises to keep us updated on progress, so when we have photos of the first phase, I will share them here.
Meanwhile, on Dentice's tip, I went to see John Greenleaf Whittier School, almost as far south at the airport. Whittier is an example of a school that is basically already surrounded by a park.
The colorful flowers adorning the front of the school are just the start. Sure, there's an asphalt play area, but there is also ample open green space and the school's playset is located in an adjacent wooded area.
What Whittier has may not be a utopian playground, but it's something most schools in the city can only dream of. Let's make it a reality for every Milwaukee school.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published July 28, 2016
For decades, St. Mary's Academy was an all-girls Catholic school housed in a striking 1904 cream city brick building. However, once nearby Thomas More High School went co-ed, the death knell arrived for St. Mary's, which closed in 1991. Come with us to see inside.
Published July 26, 2016
It's been 11 years since Commission Row gasped its last breath. Now, the building at 322 N. Broadway that hung on until the end of the street's run as a produce hub is being redeveloped into retail and office space. We go inside and take a look.
Published July 22, 2016
On Wednesday evening, Milwaukee Public Library hosted a community meeting at the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, on Mitchell Street, about a new branch nearby in the former Hills Building at 906-910 W. Mitchell St.
Published July 21, 2016
Walker's Point-based ceramics sculptor, teacher and architectural historian Ben Tyjeski is also a leader of walking tours around town; ones that focus on the city's terra cotta, the subject of a book he's working to get published. His next tour is on Sunday.
Published July 21, 2016
One of many breweries on tap for Milwaukee this year, City Lights is perhaps the most exciting for me. But not necessarily for the beer - though I'm eager to try that, too, of course - as much as for its Alexander Eschweiler-designed home.
Published July 20, 2016
When folks dig, I always hope something turns up. Except, that is, when excavation began in June for a new addition to Maryland Avenue Montessori School on the East Side, where I am a member of the School Governance Council and also served on the building addition team.
Published July 20, 2016
More than 50 years after the Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show," Beatlemania has barely subsided. This week, Beatles die-hards will be thrilled at the chance to meet Ron Campbell, director of the 1965 Beatles cartoons and "Yellow Submarine" animator.
Published July 19, 2016
The Windy City has a vibrant and fun Chinatown neighborhood just south of Downtown, but there are other ways to experience Chinese culture in Chicago, too. Here are some ways visitors of all ages can celebrate Chinese culture in Chicago.
Published July 18, 2016
In advance of a community meeting this week to discuss design plans for a new South Side library on 9th and Mitchell to replace the Forest Home Library, Milwaukee Public Library has released an image showing how the interior of the new library might look.
Published July 15, 2016
In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, Georgie Porgie's Treefort Restaurants are partnering with OnMilwaukee on a Flavor of the Day frozen custard contest. Deadline for submissions is Monday, July 25.