The idea that every child – at every school – 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 – who will retire next month – 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 – 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 Nov. 25, 2014
When Mayor Tom Barrett visited Highland Community School on Monday to welcome home a group of adolescent students from China, the trip -- according to the students themselves -- wasn't officially over yet. Today, it is officially complete.
Published Nov. 25, 2014
This year, Dental Associates completed its restoration of the Iron Block Building -- actually a pair of connected buildings dating from 1860 and 1899 -- and the work put a gorgeous new luster on one of Downtown's most aged landmarks. As Milwaukee's only iron-facade building, it's a real Milwaukee gem. To look at the historic Iron Block Building on the corner of Water and Wisconsin now, you'd be hard-pressed to believe it almost didn't survive.
Published Nov. 24, 2014
The photomontages created by Eau Claire's Then and Now Photography seamlessly meld images of the same place but from different eras, creating a fascinating and unique look at how familiar sites in Milwaukee have changed over the years.
Published Nov. 22, 2014
The world's most famous ice skating rink shimmers beneath what must be the most impressive urban tree, perhaps in the world, and the shop windows in the Center and along Fifth Avenue must be seen to be believed. Crowds queue to see the holiday spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and Times Square is decked out in green and red. And all America comes to check it out.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
Few likely know the idea of farm to table better than new Blue Jacket chef Justice Neal. Neal, after all, went from farm to table himself, having grown up on 40 acres near Beloit. Recently, Neal, who served as the restaurant's sous, was promoted to replace departing chef Matt Kerley, who had run the kitchen at Blue Jacket since 2013. Since he's already launched a new menu, we decided it was time to check in with him about his work in the kitchen.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
Milwaukee Public Library looks into Milwaukee's historic public schoolhouses with a small exhibit and panel discussion at Central Library.
Published Nov. 20, 2014
Thanksgiving is on the horizon and you're hosting (or attending) a family dinner. What to do about wine? How to find something that pairs well with both turkey and cranberries? How to find a wine that appeals to you, your parents and Aunt Millie? It can be challenging, but experts say a few simple rules can help guide the way...
Published Nov. 18, 2014
One of the most recent building "booms" at Milwaukee Public Schools added a handful of new schools to the city's landscape, but at least one planned project -- and perhaps more -- never saw the light of day.
Published Nov. 14, 2014
Serious music fans will relate. Though a lot of music enters my ears, very few make the kind of impression that Lucy Wainwright Roche's 2013 record, "There's A Last Time For Everything," made on me. A year later I can tell you exactly where I was when I first popped it into the CD player and sat transfixed, unable to move. Lucy Wainwright Roche comes to Milwaukee next week, and we talked to her about it.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
Today, I got an email from my friends at Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.) about a project the group did this autumn with kids at MPS' South Side Anna F. Doerfler Community School in conjunction with Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN) and the COA CLC program. What's it all about? Read on.