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 April 16, 2014
Lyla Foy's solo recordings, released under the name WALL, first drew attention to the 25-year-old. Now, signed to Sub Pop worldwide, Foy, has ditched the stage name and issued her full-length debut. Foy opens for Wake Owl Turner Hall Ballroom on Friday, April 18. The show is the first of her U.S. tour. We talked to her from London about the record and the tour.
Published April 15, 2014
Milwaukee is awash in rumors about secret bowling alleys, hidden tunnels and former rooming houses. But in the case of Regano's Roman Coin, a family-owned bar at 1004 E. Brady St., it's true. Well, most of it.
Published April 15, 2014
It's true, the appearance in Milwaukee of an Italian pop star is so rare that a blog post about the event warrants a headline like the one above.
Published April 14, 2014
Denver-based singer/songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff - who plays Thursday, April 17 at Shank Hall - loves Milwaukee. So much so that he considered moving here. Find out why he changed his mind.
Published April 12, 2014
With feet firmly rooted in rock and roll, but with hands in American roots music and post-punk, Milwaukee's One Horse Towne plays down to Earth, gritty music. Think part Replacements and part Son Volt. We caught up with frontman George Mireles to ask him about the songs on the band's six-song disc, upcoming gigs and more.
Published April 11, 2014
When it comes to schools, communities often know best. Maybe not always, but often. And it looks like in the case of Eighty-First Street School - in the Cooper Park neighborhood on the city's West Side - that's the case. In the first year of the roll out of a new personalized learning curriculum at the school that was merged with nearby 68th Street School two years ago, progress is already being seen.
Published April 10, 2014
As a group of dignitaries officially broke ground on a new South Stadium today in the shadow of Hayes Bilingual School, it was hard not to look around and think, "if these walls could talk."
Published April 10, 2014
Last time we met up with the Milwaukee-based band The Sleepwalkers, its members lived in Oshkosh and the band had a longer name. Now, with one more member and three fewer words in its name, The Sleepwalkers make their home in Brew City. We caught up with frontman Ian Olvera as the quartet prepares to launch its new disc, "Lost My Mind in Stereo," at a gig in Riverwest.
Published April 9, 2014
Two days ago the Milwaukee Art Museum officially announced its Plan for the Future, including an expansion of the 1975 Kahler building, which sits beneath and to the east of the 1957 Eero Saarinen-designed War Memorial Center. Yesterday, MAM director Dan Keegan hosted a media event at which he offered more details on the plan.
Published April 7, 2014
Milwaukee Art Museum has released its plan for the future, called, well, Plan for the Future.